Amazon, Microsoft and IBM Abandoning Face Recognition Is An "Irresponsible PR Stunt" Says AnyVision

By Charles Rollet and Zach Segal, Published Jul 17, 2020, 09:13am EDT (Info+)

In the wake of national protests against US police abuses, big tech firms like Amazon, Microsoft, and IBM announced they would halt working with police on facial recognition.

But Israel's AnyVision, the world's most well funded non-China facial recognition startup, says this was "an irresponsible PR stunt", arguing "the responsible choice is coping with biases and fighting unethical and irresponsible use." AnyVision even told IPVM that IBM dropping face rec was "like Tom Brady saying he's not gonna play baseball anymore".

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*******, ********* *** *** *** *** issues **** ******* ****** *********** *****, following ***** ******* **** **** **** its **** ** **** ** ******** surveil ************, ******* ********* **** ** has **** "**********" **.

** **** ********* ******, **** ********** AnyVision *** **** ****** ** ****** about *********'* ******** ** *** ****'* move, *** ** ******* ******* *** accurate ****** ***********, *********** ** ********* AnyVision ***********, *** ****.

Original ********* ** *********

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** **** **, *********'* ** **** sent **** *** ***** ********* ******* Big ****'* **** ** **** *********** with ** *** *********** ** "************* PR *****:"

******, ********* *** *** **** ********* that **** ***** ******* *** **** of ***** ****** *********** ********** ** law *********** ******** ***** ***** ********** for ****** ******.That's ** ************* ** *****. AnyVision provides AI based facial recognition tech to law enforcement agencies, airports, casinos and hospitals around the world including UK.Our stand: Getting out of facial recognition tech is the easy choice. The responsible choice is coping with biases and fighting unethical and irresponsible use. [emphasis added]

*** **********, ** **** ******** ** our***** ** ****** ******************, *** ***** ** **** ****** responded ** *** ****** ***** ******** by ***** *** *********:

  • ****** ********** "*** **** **********" ** ***** police *** ** *********** ***** "******** regulations ** ******" *** "******* ***" are ******.
  • ********* *** **** *********************** ***** **** ****** ********** *********** on ****** *********** ***** * "******** law" ** ** *****.
  • ************** "** ****** ****** ******* *******" facial *********** *** ****** "* ******** dialogue ** ******* *** *** ****** recognition ********** ****** ** ********".

AnyVision: *** ******* *** ** **** *** '**** *** ***** ******** ********'

**** ***** *********'* *** **** ****** to ****** ** *** "************* ** stunt *****"; ****** ****** *** ***'* move ** **********:

* ***** *** ****** '**'** ******* out ** *** ****** *********** ****'is **** *** ***** ****** **'* *** ***** **** ******** *******, and you can quote me on that! It's not their game, and Watson is nothing more than a marketing platform. Watson had some promising results when it came to medical research [...] but that so far is the only meaningful application. When IBM went public with their facial recognition exit, they weren't even in the game. More than any other of the big facial recognition vendors, IBM is doing it for a P.R. halo.

******, ** **** *** ********, *********** ******** *** *********** ***** ********* in *** ********* **** ***** *** *** *****,********** ** * **** ************ **** ***, ** ** **** no ******** **** ******** ******** ****** recognition.

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Far **** ******** ** *********, ******

*******, ****** *** *** **** ******** of *** ***** *** **** *****, Amazon *** *********, ****** "* *** understand" ***** ******** ***** ****** *********** is **** * "********" **********:

****** *** ** ***, ** **** platform,I *** ********** ****. Any vendor that provides any form of facial recognition or face analytics that's open-source needs to rethink whether or not this kind of technology should be open. It would be like open sourcing nuclear power. Dangerous may not be the right word, powerful ** *** ***** ****: *********** *********, ** **** ** *** ***** ***. The big concern with the ACLU is that images from social media can be used to identify peaceful protesters. If facial recognition were used to identify people who were peacefully protesting, that's the wrong application of facial recognition technology.

*******, ****** ****, ********* *** ****** "did *** ***** *****":

* ***** ********* *** ******did *** ***** *****. They're all thoughtful companies, they didn't get to where they are by being idiots.

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AnyVision ** ********* *******/******** **** ***: ******* ********, ******** *****

*********'* ********* ****** **** *** ***** decision ***'* ******** **** *** *** "coping **** ****** *** ******** ********* and ************* ***". ** ********, ********* touted *** ******* ******** ****:

** ** *** **** ** *** by ******* ** ******** **** ** recommend *** ********* ***. ** ****automated ******* ********, that means when an administrator can choose to blur the faces of everybody on a screen who is not on a watchlist.

********* **** ******** *** ***** ** academia (* ********* ** *****'* ********** in *** **, **** *********,** * **-*******) ** * ****** **'* ***** sensitive ** ****** ** ******** *** ethics:

** ********* ***** ****** ******* ** ****** *** ********. *** founding ******** **** ** *** ** do **** *** *********,with ***** ******** ***** ***** ********* of how it should be applied to protect the privacy of innocent bystanders. We can't say [to end users] "only accept watchlists from credible sources", but we can build in controls to protect the privacy of innocent bystanders.

AnyVision ***** "****** *** **** ******* ********"; **** *********** *******

********* ******** *** *** ****** ** "coping **** ******", ********* **** ** uses "*** ****** *** **** ******* datasets":

** **** ****** **** ***widest *** **** ******* ********. Because of our research origins, we make sure we source the widest, deepest dataset available. I had a conversation with our research team and asked, do we have anything to worry about if MIT were to do a test on our algorithm when it comes to identifying people of color? They said no, we used the widest possible dataset.

*******, ********* ** ******* **** ******* ****** **** ** ****** *********** software, *********'* ********* ********* ********* ** many ** *** ****** ** ******** Eastern ******** ***** ****** **** ******* or **** ***** ****. *** **** graph ***** ***** **** *** *** from ***** *******, *********'* ********* (*********** in *** ** ****) ** ******** with **** ***** ********** (**** ****** systems *** ** *** ***** *****):

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** ********* ****** ** **** ** that ********* **** ** *********** *** excels ** **-***-**** **** *********** ***** NIST **** ****** **** ******** ***** on ********, ********/**** ******, ***.

** ******** ** *** **** *****, Devine **** ** ******'* ********** ***** to *** ******, *** **** ********* has "********* *** ******" ** ***:

* ***'* ***** ** ****, *'* not * ********* ***. * **** what ** ******** **** ***** **, and ** **** ***** ** **** we've ********* *** ****** *** ******* [AI] ********* ** **** **** **'* optimized *** *** *****.

AnyVision **** "**********" **** ******* ** *********** **** ************ *******

************** ***** ************** ********* ************** **** ********* *** ****** * project ****** "*****" ***** ******** ********* Palestinians ** *** **** ****. *********'* investment ** ********* *** *********** ********* in *** *** *******:

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**** ***** ********* *** ** ***** be ******* *** ******* *********** ***** this. ********* **** ** *** **** "exonerated" ** *** ***** ******* ** an ***** *** ** ****** ** attorney ******* **** ******, ********** ****"********* ******** ************ **** *********'* ********** has *** ********** *** **** *** currently ***** * **** ************ ******* that *** **** ******* ** ***** reports":IPVM Image

[**** ****'* ************ "*****" ** ** cannot ********* ** ***** ** ******* AnyVision *** ******** ** ***.]

********* **** *** ******** ***** ******* were ** ***** ****** ***** ** "suppositions ****" *** ** *** ********** as ** ******* ****. *******, * former **** ** *** ****** ** on *********'* ***** ** ******** ***** the ****'* ********* *** ******** ** the ******* ********’* ******** ********** **** 2007 ** ****.

**** **** ************, **'** ********* ** Israeli *******, *** [***** ******] **** out ** *** ******... ******* **'** an ******* **** *******, ******* ** the [******-*********] ********,there **** ************ ****.

AnyVision ** ********* **********: "***** ***** ** **", ***** **** "****** ********** ***********"

******* *** ********* *****, ************** *********** ***** **** ********* **** ****. (AnyVision ****** *** ***** ****, ****** told ****.) **** *** * **** pushed *** ** **** ***** ****** activists, **** ** *** #*********************:

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****** **** **** **** *********'* ********** "was *** ***** ***** ** **" and **** *** ******* ***** ****** "a ****** ********** ************" **** *********:

**'* * ******** ****** *******, **** must ** ********* ** *** ********* risk ** ***** *****, ** * understand **** ******* *** ** *** investment,it's **** *** ***** ***** ** **. We still havea ****** ********** ************ **** *********, we're still working with them on Azure. It's all good. They did the right thing and it was fine for us.

******, *********'* ******* *********** *********** *********'* ***** ***********:

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AnyVision **** "**'** **** ********** *** ** **** **", ******* ********/**** **** ********

*********'* *** ***** *********** **** ************ *** **** **** ***** ** democracies:

** **** **** ******* ** ********** countries **** ****** ***********

*******,********* ****** *********** ** ****** ************ (*** *** ********) ** Israeli *********** ** *** **** ****, which ***** * *********. **** **** ***** ******** ********* has ********** ** ********, ***** ************* ***** ***** ******** *******. **** ****, ********* ************ ** two ******* ***********:****** ******** ****************** ****************** ************ ******* ******* ******** ** *******.

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**** ***** ****** ***** ***** *** cases, ***** ***** ** **** ** undermining *** ****** ** "******** *********" usage. ****** **** ** "**'** **** thoughtful ** *** ** **** **" but "**'** ***** * *******":

* ***'* ***** ** ****. ** understanding ** ****we've **** ********** ** *** ** **** **. We're still a startup, we're by no means a big public company with pages and pages of rules, we're trying to figure it out.

"We **** **** **********" *** ** ******** "************" ** ******* *****

**** ***** ********* ** ** *** clear ******** ****** ********* ** ******* to ******* *********/************. ****** **** "** have **** **********" ********* *** *** anything "******* ****" ** ****.

We **** **** ********** and it's a discussion but there ***'* ******** ****'* **** ******* ****. There's an AI ethics paper which we have which is very powerful, but there isn't anything like 'here's our constitution'. It may be the right thing [to do] [...] Now is the time to have these difficult conversations

*********'* ************** ** ** ****** ************** **** "*** ********* *** ********** from ***** *** ********** *** *************, improper ** ******** ********". ***** *** no ********* ** **** **** ** deployments/countries *** "*************".

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Commercial **********

****** *** ******** *****, ********* ***** commercial ********** ***** **** *************. ***** *** ******* ************ **** headcount ** **** *** ****, **** have ************* *** **** ** ****, as **** ******** ***** *****:

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******, ******'* *** ********** ***** ** ****** recognition ******, ***** ********* ** ********** ******* among ***********, *********** *** ************** *** interested ** ******* ****** *********** *** to ******* *** ********* ****** ** well ** **** ** ******.

**********

********* ** ** * ***** ****. It ********** ********* *** ********* ********** *** ****** of **** ******* ********* (* **** position ***** **** *********** *********):

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*** ***** ****, *** ****'* **** cautious ****** ** **** ***********, ***** with *********'* *** *************, **** **** this ******** **** ********* ** *******.

*********'* **** ******* *** ******** **********, however, **** ** **** ****** ** important ****** *********** ****** ****** *** company ** ********** ** **** *** growing ********* ** *****.

Comments (8)

Very well written article. It’s clear that facial recognition is not an affordable and viable solution during the current social and economical environment. Now, if history is an indicator of future, Mr. Devine will be looking for a new job in 3-6 months. Maybe he should try a new game, like administrative assistant or anything that doesn’t involve a platform for speaking. This is the same guy that said Anyvision sells facial recognition in Illinois despite their biometric law. It’s all recorded on IPVM’s start up webinar series. Hopefully, someone’s looking into that.

In the meantime, I wish the remaining 6 people at Anyvision luck.

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However, AnyVision facial recognition is used on Palestinians at Israeli checkpoints in the West Bank.

Is that implying that Isreal is not a democratic country with a proper government? I would also assume more than just Palestinians come through those checkpoints?

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Thanks for the comment Ross. I should have added some more detail. For context, the checkpoint's face rec is deployed only on Palestinians, not Israelis:

Such screening is not used at separate West Bank checkpoints that Israelis drive through.

I agree - were this face rec control to be deployed within Israel on everyone, then it wouldn't be fair/accurate to cite this as an example of a use case in an undemocratic country.

But in this scenario, the face rec is being used at West Bank checkpoints for Palestinians only, and the West Bank doesn't qualify as a democracy. Freedom House, a US government-funded think tank, writes this about the West Bank:

The West Bank is under Israeli military occupation, which entails onerous physical barriers and constraints on movement, demolition of homes and other physical infrastructure, restrictions on political and civil liberties, and expanding Jewish settlements. Jewish settlers in the West Bank are Israeli citizens and enjoy the same rights and liberties as other Israelis. The West Bank’s Palestinian residents, excluding those living in East Jerusalem, fall under the partial jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority (PA), which is operating with an expired presidential mandate and has no functioning legislature. The PA governs in an authoritarian manner, engaging in acts of repression against journalists and human rights activists who present critical views on its rule. While a small number of East Jerusalem Palestinians have Israeli citizenship, most have a special residency status that provides them with a restricted set of rights compared with those of Israeli citizens. [emphasis added]

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To be fair, Tom Brady was drafted in the MLB draft. So arguably Tom Brady was better at baseball than IBM was at Face Rec.

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TIL:

Just how good would Brady have been had he chosen baseball over a football career at the University of Michigan? Despite being selected 507th overall, he was regarded by some as a legit prospect. Former Expos scout John Hughes saw him as a future Major Leaguer. "I think he would have been a pro," Hughes said. "He had all the intangibles. He could throw, left-handed power. There is no reason to think this guy couldn't have been a big-league catcher."

Kevin Malone, the Expos general manager who drafted Brady, had even grander visions of his future in baseball. "I think he could have been one of the greatest catchers ever," Malone said. "I know that's quite a statement, but the projections were based on the fact we had a left-hand-hitting catcher, with arm strength and who was athletic."

On a more serious note, the bigger challenge I see for Anyvision is that facial recognition is a hard sale, structurally, even without the ethical / political issues. Contrast to Verkada, the only video surveillance company with more recent fundraising than Anyvision, it's a lot easier to sell cameras (Verkada or others) than it is to add on facial recognition. Also, note Verkada offers facial recognition as a free add-on (no claim that it is as good as Anyvision, just that it's easier to sell than a ~$1,200 a year per camera face rec license).

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Hi, question form a person outside of North America context:

1 - is there any "national law" in progress?

2 - if such "national law" will be "in place", will it also cover "ethical use", or is it the subject of other non-government bodies?

Thanks in advance!

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Hi, good questions!

1) You can check IPVM's The US Fight Over Facial Recognition Explained. In that post, we examined all the potential facial recognition legislation that might pass in the US. Currently, there is no law.

2) The most high-profile current legislation (the Facial Recognition and Biometric Technology Moratorium Act) would ban law enforcement/federal use of facial recognition; a separate law would need to be passed later governing ethical use for face rec to be permitted again. (That separate law is currently largely hypothetical, so there are no details.)

There are other pieces of legislation out there governing different aspects of ethical use:

  • the Commercial Facial Recognition Privacy Act, proposed March 2019, mandates "affirmative consent" be obtained prior to any commercial end user deploying the tech.
  • the Ethical Use of Facial Recognition Act, proposed February 2020, bans federal face rec usage "until a congressional commission established by this bill recommends rules governing the use and limitations on both government and commercial use".
  • the Facial Recognition Technology Warrant Act, proposed November 2019, would require a warrant for federal usage of facial recognition for "ongoing surveillance", defined as tracking someone for longer than 72 hours.
  • the No Biometric Barriers to Housing Act, proposed July 2019, would ban most federally-funded public housing from deploying facial recognition systems.

Again, none of these bills have actually been passed.

Cheers,

Charles

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Charles, in relation to the development of regulations/best practice; do you know if there is any distinction being made between real time deployment of facial recognition or post event for investigative purposes?

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