This post is also available in: heעברית (Hebrew)

IBM will no longer provide facial recognition technology to US police departments for mass surveillance and racial profiling. Amazon has been following in its footsteps, announcing on June 10 a one-year moratorium on police use of its facial-recognition technology.

IBM is calling for “a national dialogue” on the technology’s use in law enforcement. In a public letter to Congress, IBM chief executive, Arvind Krishna, explained that such technology could be used by police to violate “basic human rights and freedoms,” and that would be out of step with the company’s values.

The company no longer offers general purpose IBM facial recognition or analysis software, against the backdrop of the increased scrutiny over technology companies’ contracts with police amid widespread protests across America, and claims against the misuse of facial recognition services.

The company intends “to work with Congress in pursuit of justice and racial equity, focused initially in three key policy areas: police reform, responsible use of technology, and broadening skills and educational opportunities.”

“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 added, as reported by theguardian.com. 

IBM’s move was criticized by some who noted that the company was already in a distant third place in the race to sell facial-recognition technology.