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IBM stops offering facial recognition software to law enforcement

IBM has announced that it will cease offering its facial recognition and analysis software to law enforcement agencies.

IBM facial recognition

In a letter to Democratic leaders in Congress, IBM CEO Arvind Krishna stated the decision was made in the aftermath of the “horrible and tragic deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and too many others [who] remind us that the fight against racism is as urgent as ever.”

Krishna stated the technology created by the Armonk-headquartered company was not being used responsibly by law enforcement agencies, claiming these entities were using the IBM software to promote racial discrimination.

“IBM firmly opposes and will not condone uses of any technology, including facial recognition technology offered by other vendors, for mass surveillance, racial profiling, violations of basic human rights and freedoms, or any purpose which is not consistent with our values and Principles of Trust and Transparency,” Krishna said in the letter. “We believe now is the time to begin a national dialogue on whether and how facial recognition technology should be employed by domestic law enforcement agencies.”

Krishna also called on the legislators to create a national policy to “encourage and advance uses of technology that bring greater transparency and accountability to policing, such as body cameras and modern data analytics techniques.”

He also advocated the expansion of education and training opportunities for nonwhite communities as a means to “create more open and equitable pathways for all Americans to acquire marketable skills and training.”

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