The tech world is normalizing facial recognition, and though the government has already attempted to implement it into various municipalities and departments, the American Civil Liberties Union is not happy, according to Tech Crunch.
“Congress should take immediate action to put the brakes on this technology with a moratorium on its use, given that it has not been fully debated and its use has never been explicitly authorized,” said Neema Singh Guliani, ACLU legislative counsel, in a statement. “And companies like Microsoft, Amazon, and others should be heeding the calls from the public, employees, and shareholders to stop selling face surveillance technology to governments.”
Though the ACLU can’t do much about facial recognition’s journey through the private sector, they are making efforts to keep the invasive technology out of government entities, most notably law enforcement agencies, to which Amazon has already sold facial recognition technologies. The ACLU responded to this sale by pressing the corporation to stop selling the technology completely. The Orlando Police Department’s use of facial recognition was suspended, but soon picked right back up where they left off after the controversy diffused.
Amazon isn’t the only tech giant dodging bullets from the civil liberties group. Google’s employees uprose after hearing they were doing facial recognition work with the government, and Microsoft had to respond to serious criticism regarding the fact that they were developing the technology alongside the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement service.
Though the ACLU’s fight may be valiant, the fight against the tech world is a hard one to win. Other organizations and citizens are meeting in the middle, asking for regulation of Orwellian technology rather than a complete standstill. Joy Buolamwini, for instance, founded the Algorithmic Justice League, a group born out of MIT that seeks to combat biases in algorithms. Buolamwini and the AJL are advocating for a pledge that tech companies can agree to. Such a pledge will include commitments to value human life and dignity and refusal to help develop lethal autonomous vehicles or provide facial analysis products to law enforcement agencies.