Palestinian civil society supports calls for an ultimate ban on facial recognition technology and reiterates call for local authorities, corporations, universities to immediately end all ties with Israeli company AnyVision over its involvement in crimes against Palestinians.
The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), the broadest coalition in Palestinian society, stands firmly with all those calling for an ultimate ban on facial recognition technology. In the meanwhile, we reiterate our call for boycotting Israeli facial recognition company AnyVision because of its particular involvement in crimes against Palestinians.
Facial Recognition is a highly invasive technology that is used by police and military forces in dragnet-style surveillance, racial profiling and targeting of activists. It disproportionately impacts Black and Brown communities.
It has become increasingly toxic, thanks to the inspiring Black-led uprising against systemic racism and police brutality in the US and to the longtime work of anti-racist, civil rights and privacy groups around the world.
Some US cities have instituted bans or are discussing a ban of facial recognition technology, and major corporations have recently looked to publicly distance themselves from it. IBM has stated it will end research into facial recognition, while Amazon and Microsoft have suspended sales of the technology to police forces until there are federal regulations in place.
While these steps represent an important turning point, they fall short of an all-out ban on facial recognition technology. A dangerous, intrusive, insidious technology cannot be regulated into a force for good. Many of these same tech companies have lobbied to block new laws or advocated for watered down legislation in order to protect their business interests while feigning concern for civil rights.
As some US tech companies pulled back from facial recognition, Israeli company AnyVision doubled down instead, stating it has no plans to leave the business, calling IBM’s position “ridiculous” and accusing it of “raising its hands in surrender.”
AnyVision provides the Israeli military with its facial recognition technology at military checkpoints in the occupied Palestinian territory and maintains surveillance cameras for the Israeli military deep inside the West Bank. This technology is used to spy on Palestinians and enables the Israeli military’s illegal targeting of civilians. AnyVision, which is led by veteran Israeli military and intelligence personnel, is able to market its technology as “field-tested” on Palestinians living under Israel’s military occupation and oppressive apartheid regime.
Last march Microsoft divested from AnyVision, following a global campaign led by Jewish Voice for Peace.
It is time to put an end to the use of this harmful technology.
We renew our calls for local authorities, corporations, universities and research centers to immediately end all ties with AnyVision until a comprehensive ban on this insidious technology is accomplished.
Source: BDS movement