IBM will no longer provide general purpose facial recognition or analysis software, IBM CEO Arvind Krishna stated in a letter to Congress. The company find out more about or will also no longer develop the technologies, IBM tells. Krishna addressed the letter to Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Reps. Karen Bass (D-CA), Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), and Jerrold Nadler (D-NY). “We think now is the opportunity to begin a national dialogue on if and how facial recognition technology ought to be used by federal law enforcement agencies.”
Facial recognition software has improved significantly during the last decade due to advances in artificial intelligence. At the same time, the tech — because it’s frequently supplied by private companies with very little regulation or national oversight — has been proven to suffer from prejudice along lines of age, race, and ethnicity, which may make the tools unreliable for law enforcement and safety and ripe for potential civil rights abuses.
In 2018, study by Joy Buolamwini and Timnit Gebru revealed for the first time the degree to which many commercial facial recognition systems (such as IBM’s) were more biased. The subsequent studies of the pair and this work resulted in mainstream criticism of attempts and these algorithms to bias.
A December 2019 National Institute of Standards and Technology study discovered “empirical evidence for the occurrence of a wide range of precision across demographic differences in the majority of the present face recognition algorithms which were assessed,” such as. The technology has come under fire because of its role in privacy violations.
IBM has tried to assist with the dilemma of bias in facial recognition, releasing a public information collection in 2018 designed to decrease bias as part of their training information to get a facial recognition version. But IBM was discovered to be sharing a separate training data collection of nearly one million photos in January 2019 obtained from Flickr though the photographs were shared under a Creative Commons license.
IBM told in a declaration at the time the information set would only be retrieved by verified researchers and just included images that were publicly accessible. The company also said that individuals can opt-out of the information collection.
In his correspondence, Krishna also advocated for police reform, arguing that more police misconduct cases should be put under the purview of both federal court and that Congress should make changes to qualified immunity doctrine, among other measures. Additionally, Krishna said that “we will need to make more open and honorable pathways for all Americans to acquire marketable skills and training,” and he suggested Congress consider scaling the P-TECH school model nationally and expanding eligibility for Pell Grants.