IBM Calls for Regulation of Face Recognition Tech

Tech manufacturer IBM has weighed in on the debate about the control of facial recognition technology, suggesting that the innovation should be regulated, but not banned altogether. The company reminded users in a white paper posted on its site on the 5th of November, that not every technology that is labeled as facial recognition operates the same way. IBM went on to state that they understood why people were uneasy about the utilization of face scans for identification purposes. However, a blanket ban on all technology that falls under the term would put the US back in terms of technology when compared with the rest of the world.

Banning is Unwelcome; Regulation is Better

Cities such as San Francisco have already instituted local laws that limit the use of facial recognition technology by government agencies. The legislation has been met with celebration by privacy advocates, who see it as a win for personal freedoms. Both Amazon and Microsoft have stated that banning the technology isn’t healthy for tech, but instead, they advocate for regulations to prevent abuse. IBM joins these tech giants in calling for rules of usage, but only in specific cases where a higher risk of societal harm may exist.

The company stated that specific applications of the technology should remain off-limits. Among the areas that IBM highlighted to be part of the restricted usage of the tech would be racial profiling technology and mass surveillance usage. They noted that the technology has the potential to be used for good. The white paper highlights that facial recognition may be instrumental in dealing with identifying natural disaster victims, an application that would be off-limits if the tech were to be banned outright.

A Tech That Has the Potential for Abuse

Facial recognition technology has cropped up in public news quite recently, as the Chinese government had been using it to profile protestors during the recent civil uprising in Hong Kong. Applications like these, allowing to governmental abuse of authority, are among those that IBM states unequivocally should be on the list of restricted uses. The company also went on to state that notice and consent should form part of future public agreements for the tech.