IBM has asked the U.S. government to restrict exports on facial recognition technology to repressive regimes. The tech giant was responding to the Commerce Department's request for public comment on export license requirements for biometric surveillance.
- IBM believes there should be export restrictions on facial recognition systems most likely used for racial profiling, mass surveillance, and other human rights issues. This includes high-res cameras and "large-scale computing components" used in facial recognition systems, it said.
- The government should also limit people's access to online image databases that are used to train facial recognition systems, IBM said.
- Christopher Padilla, IBM's VP for government and regulatory affairs, said the government shouldn't focus on controls for systems that unlock smartphones or verify a person's identity at airports.
- In June, IBM announced plans to withdraw from the general-purpose facial recognition market over concerns that it promotes discrimination and racial injustice. Microsoft and Amazon soon followed with their own restrictions on facial recognition.
- The deadline to comment on the export rules is Tuesday, Sept. 15.
- The Commerce Department noted that China uses facial recognition technology in its Xinjiang region, where it detains and surveils more than a million members of Muslim minority groups in re-education and internment camps.
- The government has included several AI-related companies, including facial recognition firms SenseTime and Megvii Technology, on its economic blacklist for being implicated in China's human rights violations of Muslims.