IBM Announced It Is Stepping Down From Facial Recognition Business

Today, CEO of IBM, an American multinational technology company, Arvind Krishna announced that they will no longer sell facial recognition services. Additionally, the company is also calling for a “national dialogue” on whether the service should be used in the first place. He also voiced support for a new bill that aims to reduce police violence and simultaneously increase accountability.

According to a letter introduced today, and reported by CNBC, in support of the Justice in Policing Act, the CEO has explained the company’s exit from the controversial business.

The company opposes and will not condone uses of any technology for mass surveillance, violations of basic human rights and freedoms, racial profiling, or any purpose not consistent with their values and Principles including facial recognition technology offered by other vendors.

They believe this is the time to begin a national dialogue on how and whether should the facial recognition technology be employed by law enforcement agencies.

This approach of developing and deploying the technology is not a new one as last year the company emphasized it with a new database of face data. However, it is also true that the technology was just not making much money for the company.

Moreover, the letter also said that the “vendors and users of Al systems have a shared responsibility to ensure that Al is tested for bias, particularly when used in law enforcement, and that such bias testing is audited and reported.” This makes it unclear whether the company will continue to perform its AI-based research.

Krishna’s bill is supported by dozens of co-sponsors in the House and Senate. This is because the bill addresses several issues that are being faced by police departments. Despite the bill limiting the use of facial technology, it successfully expands requirements for body cameras. If they are used under protocols publicly developed and listed, it will provide grants for the hardware.