Google said its cloud unit will not sell a general type of facial recognition software until certain issues about controversial technology are clarified.
“Facial recognition deserves careful consideration to ensure that its use matches our principles and values, and avoids abuse and harmful results,” said Kent Walker, Google’s head of global affairs in a blog post on Thursday. “Unlike other companies, Google Cloud has chosen not to offer general-purpose facial recognition APIs before resolving important technology and policy issues.”
Google’s announcement adds to an unusual consensus among researchers, activists and politicians that facial recognition can facilitate mass surveillance and should be regulated.
Google, of Alphabet Inc., is immersed in a technological race against other giants of the sector to develop the best artificial intelligence and sell it in the form of services through the Internet. But part of Google’s work has sparked protests from employees, activists and privacy experts. The company let an AI contract expire with the Pentagon this year after being criticized.
The Google blog did not specify what issues the company wants to clarify. The company published a list of AI principles in June, and pledged not to use technology for weapons, illegal surveillance and technologies that cause “widespread harm.”
Also published on Medium.