Artificial Intelligence: Ethics, Regulations, Policies & Privacy Issues Explained

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Here are more updates, sorted alphabetically.

Facebook: Multiple updates…

  • The social media giant has acquired eight AI companies since 2010. Source: PC Mag, July 24, 2020.
  • Facebook Inc won preliminary approval from a federal court for settlement of a lawsuit that claimed it illegally collected and stored biometric data of millions of users without their consent. Source: Reuters, August 19, 2020.

Facial Recognition Technology, Race Detection Software and AI:

  • IBM has stopped selling its facial recognition technology amid concerns about potential misuse of the technology. Somewhat similarly, Amazon and Microsoft have stopped selling facial recognition technology to police departments amid concerns about potential racial bias in the technology. On the flip side, NEC, Clearview AI Inc., and Ayonix Corp., which sell facial recognition products to police agencies in the U.S. and around the world, said they have no plans to change their sales strategies. Sources: ChannelE2E and The Wall Street Journal, June 12, 2020.
  • Race Detection Software: More than a dozen companies offer artificial-intelligence programs that promise to identify a person’s race, but researchers and even some vendors worry it will fuel discrimination. Source: The Wall Street Journal, August 14, 2020.
  • Facial Recognition in Stores: Here’s a scorecard that highlights which retailers likely use and don’t use facial recognition technology in stores. Source: Fight for the Future, May 24, 2021.
  • Potential Legislation: Lawmakers in the House and Senate jointly re-introduced the Facial Recognition and Biometric Technology Moratorium Act of 2021, which would effectively ban law enforcement use of facial recognition in the United States. Source: Fight for the Future, June 15, 2021.

France: The country’s data privacy watchdog CNIL has ordered Clearview AI, a facial recognition company that has collected 10 billion images worldwide, to stop amassing and using data from people based in the country. Source: Reuters, December 16, 2021.

Google and Alphabet AI Policy:

  • The head of Google and parent company Alphabet has called for artificial intelligence (AI) to be regulated. Writing in the Financial Times, Sundar Pichai said it was “too important not to” impose regulation but argued for “a sensible approach.” He said that individual areas of AI development, like self-driving cars and health tech, required tailored rules. Source: BBC, January 20, 2020.
  • Google has acquired 14 AI companies since 2010. Source: PC Mag, July 24, 2020.
  • An engineering director and a software developer have quit Alphabet’s Google over the dismissal of AI researcher Timnit Gebru, a sign of the ongoing conflicts at the search giant over diversity and ethics. Source: Reuters, February 3, 2021.
  • Google is reorganizing an artificial intelligence research team that aims to develop technologies like facial recognition in an ethically responsible way, appointing Dr. Marian Croak, a vice president of engineering and six-year Google veteran, to lead it. Source: The Information, February 18, 2021.
  • Google fired staff scientist Margaret Mitchell, they both said, a move that fanned company divisions on academic freedom and diversity that were on display since its December dismissal of AI ethics researcher Timnit Gebru. Source: Reuters, February 19, 2021.
  • Google’s head of AI apologized for the dismissal of Timnit Gebru, one of its top researchers as the company announced new diversity policies. Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, sent an email to employees on February 19, 2021, outlining the changes, a person familiar with the situation told Bloomberg News. In the email obtained by the news outlet, Google AI chief Jeff Dean apologized for the handling of Gebru’s exit. The email was first reported by Axios. Source: The Hill, February 20, 2021.
  • Google will change procedures before July for reviewing its scientists’ work, according to a town hall recording, part of an effort to quell internal tumult over the integrity of its artificial intelligence (AI) research. Source: Reuters, February 25, 2021.
  • Google is developing an alternative to the industry standard method for classifying skin tones, which a growing chorus of technology researchers and dermatologists says is inadequate for assessing whether products are biased against people of color. Source: Reuters, June 18, 2021.
  • Google employees are ratcheting up pressure on the internet-search giant to abandon its artificial intelligence work with the Israeli government, planning public demonstrations to draw greater attention to the controversial cloud-computing contract. Source: Bloomberg, August 31, 2022.

IBM AI Policy: Multiple updates including:

  • The company called for rules aimed at eliminating bias in artificial intelligence to ease concerns that the technology relies on data that bakes in past discriminatory practices and could harm women, minorities, the disabled, older Americans and others. Source: Bloomberg, January 21, 2020.
  • IBM formally announced the IBM Policy Lab — an initiative aimed at providing policymakers with recommendations for emerging problems in technology. IBM also outlined a set of priorities for AI regulation, including several aimed at compliance and explainability. Source: VentureBeat, January 21, 2020.
  • IBM outlines five AI policy imperatives. Source: ChannelE2E, January 22, 2020.
  • IBM no longer offers general purpose facial recognition or analysis software amid concerns about potential bias, according to a letter about racial justice reform from IBM CEO Arvind Krishna to Congress. Source: ChannelE2E, June 9, 2020.
  • IBM said the U.S. Commerce Department should adopt new controls to limit the export of facial recognition systems to repressive regimes that can be used to commit human rights violations. Source: Reuters, September 11, 2020.
  • Fully 79% of CEOs surveyed are prepared to implement AI ethics practices — but less than a quarter of organizations have acted on it. Source: IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) study, April 14, 2022.

Microsoft AI Policy: Multiple updates including…

  • Referring to facial recognition technology, Microsoft outlines the need for public regulation and corporate responsibility. Source: Microsoft, July 13, 2018.
  • Microsoft outlines why it’s important for governments in 2019 to start adopting laws to regulate facial recognition technology. Source: Microsoft, December 6, 2018.
  • Microsoft VP and Chief Legal Counsel Brad Smith cautions against the European Commission’s call for a temporary ban on AI facial recognition technologies. Source: ZDnet, January 21, 2020.
  • Microsoft will not sell facial recognition technology to police departments in the United States until there is a national law in place ground in human rights that will govern this technology. Source: The Washington Post, June 11, 2020.
  • Microsoft has acquired 10 AI companies since 2010. Source: PC Mag, July 24, 2020.
  • Microsoft has announced a framework for building AI systems in a responsible manner. The move scales back various facial recognition and AI focus areas amid public concerns about privacy and bias issues. Source: Microsoft, June 21, 2022.

Musk, Elon: The Tesla and SpaceX CEO is calling for regulation on organizations developing advanced artificial intelligence, including his companies. Elon Musk tweeted, “All orgs developing advanced AI should be regulated, including Tesla.” Source: NY Post, February 22, 2020.

New York City: Companies in New York City that use artificial intelligence and other technology to make hiring, compensation and other human-resources decisions would face tighter restrictions under a new bill. Source: The Wall Street Journal, February 27, 2020.

NIST – AI and Facial Recognition Concerns:

  • This report suggests facial recognition technology may be designed with AI biases. Source: NIST, February 19, 2020.
  • NIST is updating its guidance on facial recognition algorithms. Source: Federal News Network reports, January 5, 2021.

Continue to next page for more updates, sorted alphabetically.

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    Sadi Vural:

    Face recognition must be regulated to certain rules but it is still too difficult to do regulation.

    Joe Panettieri:

    Sadi: Thank you for your comment and readership. Do you represent Ayonix? If so, has the company taken any steps to address potential facial recognition technology issued raised in the article above?

    Sadi Vural:

    Joe: No, We have not taken any step to address the issues yet.
    Industry is very sensitive and US congress is very busy. We have to wait.

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