Protests & Facial Recognition Technology

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Day 78: Stay Safe Minnesota

Several media report that facial recognition technologies were used during the protests & there are calls to ban their use in profiling protesters.

In previous Notes use of Facial Recognition Technology by law enforcement & government officials was highlighted. Several media report that facial recognition technologies were used during the George Floyd killing protests & there are calls to ban their use in profiling protesters.

In Reuters, reporters Alexandra Ulmer, Zeba Siddiqui write: “Police in the Indian capital and the northern state of Uttar Pradesh – both hotbeds of dissent – have used the technology during protests that have raged since mid-December against a new citizenship law that critics say marginalises Muslims. Activists are worried about insufficient regulation around the new technology, amid what they say is a crackdown on dissent under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose Hindu nationalist agenda has gathered pace since his re-election in May.”

I do not know what they are going to do with my data. We need to protect ourselves, given how this government cracks down.

Rachita Taneja, a Protester (source: Reuters)

In CNET, Corinne Reichert writes: “Sen. Edward Markey asks if the company considers a history of discriminatory policing before selling the tech to certain law enforcement agencies. ‘Clearview AI’s technology is intended only for after-the-crime investigations, and not as a surveillance tool relating to protests or under any other circumstances’, he said in an emailed statement.”

In The Verge, reporter Jay Peters writes: “IBM will no longer offer, develop, or research facial recognition technology. ‘IBM firmly opposes and will not condone uses of any [facial recognition] 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‘ said IBM CEO Arvind Krishna.”

We believe now is the time to begin a national dialogue on whether and how facial recognition technology should be employed by domestic law enforcement agencies.

Arvind Krishna, IBM CEO in a letter to Congress (source: The Verge)

In the Guardian, reporter Kari Paul writes: “Amazon to ban police use of facial recognition software for a year. Company has stated its support for Black Lives Matter movement, but faced growing backlash over ties to policing. Amazon is implementing a one-year moratorium on police use of its artificial intelligence software Rekognition amid a growing backlash over the tech company’s ties to law enforcement.”

In The Washington Post, technology reporter Jay Greene writes: “Microsoft won’t sell police its facial-recognition technology, following similar moves by Amazon and IBM. The software giant will ban police use of its controversial facial-recognition systems, as the company awaits regulatory rules for how law-enforcement agencies deploy the technology. While Microsoft followed Amazon and IBM, it was the first to call on the U.S. government to regulate facial-recognition technology two years ago. At the time, Microsoft argued that tech giants weren’t likely to regulate themselves.”

This note post is part of learning race & inequality in US series inspired by recent protests in US and around the world.

Coronavirus Pandemic Watch

According to the MDH latest tally (as of June 11, 11 a.m.) the confirmed COVID-19 cases in Minnesota are 29,316 (out of 381,841 tested) with 1,249 deaths. According to Johns Hopkins database (as of June 11, 5:30 a.m.) there are 2,000,464 confirmed covid19 infection with 112,924 deaths. Globally the covid19 virus has infected 7,397,349 with 417,109 deaths.