Wespath Benefits & Investments asserts that the acts of the members of the Managing Board of HeidelbergCement AG should not be approved and recommends a vote against agenda item 3, resolution on the discharge of the Managing Board for the…
The rapid deployment of Facial Recognition technology has raised major concerns about the impact on privacy, data protection, and civil liberties. This Investor Statement calls on the companies involved in this technology to increase disclosure, to demonstrate awareness of the impact on human rights and to adopt ethical practices.
Governments, law enforcement agencies and corporates are rushing to adopt Facial Recognition technology with a view to increasing security and improving efficiency. It is estimated that, by the end of 2021, 1 billion surveillance cameras will be in operation around the globe; on average, one camera for every 8 citizens of the world. Yet, the way this technology is being used and designed carries considerable risks to basic human rights as well as far reaching social implications.
We see materialisation of these risks through major controversies including:
- The racial and gender biases observed in these systems,
- The questionable accuracy and lack of public testing of most systems in use,
- Possible privacy or legal violations in the sourcing of photos for the databases,
- The use made by governments, law enforcement agencies or others.
These controversial practices are now being translated into serious reputational, operational and financial risks for companies involved. In a (post-)Covid world, public scrutiny of mass surveillance is gathering pace and there are growing reports of bans, fines and black listings.
Under the aegis of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), this statement calls on all companies involved in Facial Recognition technology to act responsibly and proactively. They should demonstrate awareness of related risks and prioritise actions to identify, prevent and resolve them.