On Wednesday, a UCLA administrator said the university would not continue its facial recognition program and would ban the use of the technology on campus,media reported. The move follows a backlash from student groups and privacy advocates calling for facial recognition to be banned on campuses across the country.
“UCLA will not pursue the use of this technology,” UCLA Executive Vice President Michael Beck said in a statement. We’ve determined that the potential benefits are limited, and our campus community is much more worried than that. “
Fight for The Future said it was testing the Amazon Rekognition algorithm used for UCLA athletes and faculty, which they found incorrectly matched black faces to other people’s facial photos. The findings match broader concerns that facial recognition has a higher rate of error recognition for blacks and women. Advocates point out that facial recognition is more worrying when it works because it becomes an inevitable and widely used surveillance tool.
On Wednesday, Evan Greer, the group’s deputy director, said in a statement that other universities should also heed UCLA’s decision that “we will not stop organizing activities until facial recognition is banned on every campus.” Student activists are understood to be planning to take action on college campuses across the country in March.
A UCLA spokesman said that while the school’s current policy does not mention face recognition, it will be updated to explicitly prohibit the technology from being used on campus.