IBM Common Stock (NYSE:IBM) has revealed plans to stop selling its facial recognition technology to police departments because it is misused by racial profiling and mass surveillance.
The plan to abandon its facial recognition business was revealed after IBM’s CEO Arvind Krishna penned a letter to Congress. He stated in the letter that police officers can use the technology to violate basic human rights. This comes amid the ongoing anti-police brutality protests and Black Lives Matter protests after police officers killed George Floyd.
“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,” the CEO wrote.
IBM is one of the major tech companies that have been working on improving facial recognition software accuracy. Previous research uncovered gender and racial disparities, which means that the system might be biased against some people. However, the decision to stop selling the software to the police comes after the company executives do not feel that the police force should use the technology.
IBM applauded for its decision to end the facial recognition business
IBM’s decision to stop selling its facial recognition software to the police has received a lot of praise, particularly because it seems to understand the sensitivity of the current situation. One of the people that have praised the company’s decision is a lawyer called Nate Freed Wessler. However, he is concerned about the fact that other companies that provide their software to police departments have not taken a similar stand.
Wessler called out those firms, including Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) for continuing to sell their software, which might endanger people. Meanwhile, Krishna, in his latter, also called for police reforms, thus echoing the words of many due to the rising cases of racial profiling, discrimination, and human rights violation by police. IBM does not want its technology to be used in situations where it might aid such wrongs. Other companies will hopefully follow similar trends and contribute to the pressure for police reforms.