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IBM reconsiders its partnership with governmental institutions

IBM reconsiders its partnership with governmental institutions

Recent events make companies reevaluate their actions.

The world follows the developments that are taking place right now in the States, and which crossed the ocean to Europe, regarding the racial injustice and racism, triggered by the death of George Floyd on May 25.

Some of the world’s major companies pledged money and support on this movement meant to help the minorities. The support keeps on coming, and starting yesterday, the American multinational technology company, IBM, will no longer offer, develop, or continue its research in facial recognition technology.

In a letter to the US Congress, IBM CEO, Arvind Krishan said: “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.”

For the last decade, the facial recognition software came a long way. Still, because it is provided by private companies that don't fall under that same rules and regulations as the public ones, studies conducted in 2018 and 2019 have shown that the technology is biased regarding age, race, and ethnicity, which can lead to potential civil rights abuses. Moreover, the software wasn’t so profitable, and IBM wants to shift its focus on growing the cloud services, to be in line with what Microsoft and Amazon released.

But IBM is not the first company that gained criticism over this technology. Last year, 2.4% of Amazon’s shareholders voted to ban the sale of such technology to government agencies.

In the same letter, IBM said that it wants to expand the Pell Grants over the four-year programs for underserved areas. At the moment, there are 150,000 students in 220 schools.

IBM stock price gained yesterday around 2.80%, but in today's pre-market session, it lost 1.10%.

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Sources: theverge.com, news.sky.com, cnbc.com


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