IBM Calls For Limiting Export Of Facial Recognition Software

CIOReviewIndia Team | Monday, 14 September 2020, 09:15 IST

IBM Calls For Limiting Export Of Facial Recognition SoftwareAfter deciding to terminate general-purpose facial recognition and analysis software products in June this year, technology giant IBM now gears up on merging further restrictions on the export of facial recognition software from the United States.

A letter by IBM to the US Department of Commerce last week, says, it recommended the country to restrict the export of facial recognition technologies, which employ “1-to-many” matching end uses.

IBM said, “This is the type of facial recognition technology most likely to be used for mass surveillance, racial profiling, or other violations of human rights. To effectively target export controls on these particular use-cases of facial recognition technologies, we believe such rules should focus on the high-resolution cameras used to collect data and the software algorithms used to analyze and match that data in the context of a '1-to-many' facial recognition system.”

As per technology leader, “1-to-many” systems are distinct from “1-to-1” facial matching systems, like that those might unlock a user’s phone or allow the user to board an airplane, where facial recognition is verifying a consenting person is who they say they are.

However, in the “1-to-many” application, a system can pick a face out of a crowd by matching one image against a database of many, as per the Vice President, IBM Government and Regulatory Affairs, Christopher Padilla’s blog.

Arvind Krishna, CEO, IBM, said, in a letter to the US Congress this year, “The company has sunset its own general-purpose IBM recognition and analysis products.

Krishna added, "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.”

IBM, in a letter to the US Department of Commerce, said that the tightest restrictions to be placed on the end-uses and end-users that pose the highest risk of societal harm.

Though holding promise to the law enforcement agencies in tracking criminals, facial recognition technology has encountered criticism of misuse by state authorities.

US cities like San Francisco, Oakland, San Diego, and in recent times Portland banned the use of facial recognition technology. The cities cited its limitations and facial recognition technology’s lack of standard as reasons.

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