This post is also available in: עברית (Hebrew)
The computer tech giant, IBM, has been pushing the United States government to regulate facial recognition technology, instead of simply outright banning it from public use. The company is pushing for “precision regulation”, which they claim would restrict potentially harmful uses of the technology, while still allowing enough space for innovation in the facial recognition field.
Some cities in the United States have already banned the governmental use of the technology. Lawmakers in San Francisco, the first U.S. city to ban police use of facial recognition software, have made claims that police use of facial recognition software would instigate a slippery slope towards mass police surveillance. While others have made claims that police use of facial recognition would be a very useful law enforcement tool.
“The same technology used in different situations by different users should be governed by different rules,” said IBM officials in an online report. “It simply does not make sense to subject a smartphone and a police body camera to the same regulatory treatment.”
Throughout the past year in many cities, advocates for privacy rights have pushed forward the anti-facial recognition agenda and have managed to ban the municipal use of the software in many cities. Although the software is still on track in shopping centers and airports, last July American lawmakers have proposed banning public housing units from utilizing facial recognition software, according to Cnet.com.
IBM isn’t the only tech company to think in such a way. Amazon and Microsoft have both mentioned that facial recognition should be regulated by government and not just banned. Both companies develop their own facial recognition software, with Amazon selling its Rekognition system to police agencies in the United States.
In the online report published by IBM, the company mentioned three policies that it believes could help facial recognition. The first would be requiring notice and consent from citizens and people whose faces are being scanned. Next would be implementing export controls and finally, mandating transparency from law enforcement.
The largest concern towards the governmental use of facial recognition software is the reduction of personal privacy and the lack of governmental transparency with the use of the technology. The above three policies stated by IBM combat exactly this and may actually help push forward the safe and respectful use of facial recognition software.