Emerging Technologies

IBM will no longer offer facial recognition technology and opposes use for racial profiling

A man wearing a protective mask walks past an office building with IBM logo amidst the easing of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions in the Central Business District of Sydney, Australia, June 3, 2020. Picture taken June 3, 2020.

IBM's CEO, Arvind Krishna has stated the company will no longer offer facial recognition technology. Image: REUTERS/Loren Elliott

Reuters Staff
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Technological Transformation

  • IBM's CEO Arvind Krishna said the company will no longer offer facial recognition technology and opposes its use for mass surveillance and racial profiling.
  • The decision follows nationwide protests in the US over the death of George Floyd.
  • He also called for greater transparency and accountability in policing.

International Business Machines Corp will no longer offer general purpose facial recognition or analysis software, new Chief Executive Officer Arvind Krishna said in a letter to the members of the United States Congress on Monday.

The company will stop offering facial recognition software and oppose any use of such technology for purposes of mass surveillance and racial profiling, Krishna said.

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The tech giant’s decision to get out of the facial recognition business, employed by multiple companies, comes as the United States grapples with nationwide protests over the death of a black man, George Floyd, under police custody in Minneapolis.

“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,” he was quoted as saying in the letter.

Image: Surfshark

Government officials across the country have proposed reforms to address police brutality and racial injustice aimed at boosting oversight of law enforcement agencies.

In the letter sent to prominent U.S. Senators, including Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, Krishna also called on for greater transparency and accountability to policing.

Krishna, the key architect of IBM’s $34 billion Red Hat acquisition last year, took over the chief executive officer role from Ginni Rometty in April.

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