Lawmakers are drafting new legislation to modify, alter or otherwise curtail the use of facial recognition by police departments and other law enforcement agencies. The hope is to reign in the public outrage over police misconduct and racial inequalities. The big concern is that facial recognition tools promote bias by misidentifying people, especially people of color. Law enforcement agencies use facial recognition products to track suspects, find missing persons and generally keep tabs on certain people and/or certain groups of people.
In light of recent events, Amazon and Microsoft have both announced that they are not going to sell their facial recognition technology to policing agencies, at least temporarily. IBM has ceased their sales of facial recognition technology permanently. While several other smaller entities have elected to continue to sale facial recognition software technology to governmental agencies.
Civil rights groups are vehemently opposed to the government’s use of facial recognition as a form of policing. Groups have implored law makers to mandate uniformity of facial recognition rules so as to protect the public at large. It will be interesting to see if the ‘powers-that-be’ can come together to create an acceptable level of facial recognition technology use. No time like the present, as they say … but knowing how our elected officials operate, no one should be holding their breath.
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