Urge Big Tech to Stop Selling Facial-Recognition Technology to the Government
Agencies like the FBI and ICE and local police departments around the country are using facial recognition technology to track who you are and where you go.1 This dangerous practice is invasive, unregulated and often misidentifies people of color.2
Despite the dangers, tech companies are lining up to sell their facial-recognition tech to government agencies. Last year, the ACLU of Northern California exposed Amazon for selling its facial-recognition tool to law enforcement.3 Microsoft markets and sells its own tool, Face API, even as it calls on the federal government to regulate facial-recognition technology. Google is not currently selling its facial-recognition product, but hasn’t ruled out doing so in the future.
Facial recognition is not a neutral technology. Research has shown the technology is disproportionately inaccurate on people of color — especially Black women.4 In the hands of police and government agencies like ICE, this powerful surveillance technology could be used to target and repress Black people and other people of color.
Across the country, thousands of people, including activists, lawmakers and even employees from these tech companies, are speaking up against the use of facial-recognition tech. It’s time for Amazon, Google and Microsoft to do the right thing.
In a political climate in which people of color, immigrants and other marginalized communities are being targeted, companies selling facial-recognition technology to the government are complicit in their oppression. Demand that tech giants reverse course and stop helping ICE and the police build larger and more dangerous surveillance tools.
Tell the CEOs from Amazon, Google and Microsoft: Don’t sell facial-recognition technology to the government.
1. “Facial Recognition Gives Police a Powerful New Tracking Tool,” NBC News, July 20, 2018: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/facial-recognition-gives-police-powerful-new-tracking-tool-it-s-n894936
2. “When the Robot Doesn’t See Dark Skin,” The New York Times, June 21, 2018: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/21/opinion/facial-analysis-technology-bias.html
3. “Emails Show How Amazon is Selling Facial Recognition System to Law Enforcement,” ACLU of Northern California, May 22, 2018: https://www.aclunc.org/news/emails-show-how-amazon-selling-facial-recognition-system-law-enforcement
4. “Study Finds Gender and Skin-Type Bias in Artificial Intelligence Systems,” MIT News, Feb. 11, 2018: http://news.mit.edu/2018/study-finds-gender-skin-type-bias-artificial-intelligence-systems-0212