June 9, 2020 / 12:39 AM / 23 days ago

IBM gets out of facial recognition business

June 8 (Reuters) - International Business Machines Corp will no longer offer general purpose facial recognition or analysis software, new Chief Executive Officer Arvind Krishna said in a letter to the members of the United States Congress on Monday.

The company will stop offering facial recognition software and oppose any use of such technology for purposes of mass surveillance and racial profiling, Krishna said.

The tech giant’s decision to get out of the facial recognition business, employed by multiple companies, comes as the United States grapples with nationwide protests over the death of a black man, George Floyd, under police custody in Minneapolis.

“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 was quoted as saying in the letter.

Government officials across the country have proposed reforms to address police brutality and racial injustice aimed at boosting oversight of law enforcement agencies.

In the letter sent to prominent U.S. Senators, including Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, Krishna also called on for greater transparency and accountability to policing.

Krishna, the key architect of IBM’s $34 billion Red Hat acquisition last year, took over the chief executive officer role from Ginni Rometty in April.

Reporting by Bhargav Acharya in Bengaluru and David Shepardson in Washington; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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