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Tech Firms Seek to Head Off Bans on Facial Recognition


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A demonstration using artificial intelligence and facial recognition.

Technology companies are supporting laws that would restrict use of facial recognition systems, in order to head off more-severe prohibitions some cities and states are weighing.

Credit: david mcnew/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Technology companies increasingly are backing proposed laws that would limit the use of facial recognition systems, in an effort to head off more restrictive bills being considered by some cities and states.

San Francisco is one of six U.S. cities that have passed laws to stop government use of facial -recognition technology, and bans or strict limitations are being considered in New York, Massachusetts, Hawaii, and Michigan.

Microsoft supports bills in Congress and in Washington state that would allow use of the technology with oversight, and Amazon has said it supports national standards.

Meanwhile, IBM is calling for "precision regulations" that do not permit mass surveillance, and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai reportedly is open to a temporary pause in the use of the technology while regulations are developed.

Meredith Whittaker of New York University's AI Now Institute said such industry-supported regulations "are effectively geared to allow these companies to continue selling and profiting from these technologies, more or less unhindered."

From The Wall Street Journal
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