IBM calls for export controls on some facial biometrics technologies to prevent human rights abuses

IBM calls for export controls on some facial biometrics technologies to prevent human rights abuses

Biometric facial recognition exports from the U.S. should be subject to new controls, IBM argues, to avoid putting the powerful technology in the hands of regimes that may use it to violate human rights, , according to Reuters.

Tech giants including IBM made headlines earlier this year by withdrawing their facial recognition offerings from parts of the market and asking for U.S. government regulation.

The company released a statement calling for “the type of facial recognition system most likely to be used in mass surveillance systems, racial profiling or other human rights violations” to be subject to new export restrictions. The Department of Commerce requested comments on placing new restrictions on the sale of facial recognition and other biometric technologies that could be used in surveillance systems in July. The comment period closes September 15.

IBM VP for Government and Regulatory Affairs told Reuters that the government should focus on one-to-many systems, rather than verification or authentication systems like those used in smartphones and in airports for Biometric Exit. The company argues that both the high-resolution cameras and algorithms, as well as “large-scale computing components” used in facial recognition systems should be limited.

The U.S. government has already placed restrictions on the business dealings American entities can have with dozens of Chinese companies, many of them biometrics providers, allegedly involved in human rights abuses against Uighur people in Xinjiang.

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