US firms said using Israeli tech for controversial facial recognition

Israeli startup AnyVision uses artificial intelligence to recognize faces, bodies and objects for security and other purposes. (photo: YouTube screenshot)
AnyVision system touted as improving security and preventing crime, but social rights activists say practice infringes on privacy, could hurt marginalized groups

By TOI staff | Times of Israel | Apr 21, 2021

“Private use of facial recognition by corporations, institutions and even individuals poses just as much of a threat to marginalized communities as government use,”
 open letter from 25 social justice groups calling on governments to ban corporate use of facial recognition.

An Israeli company that makes facial recognition technology has gained several big-name clients in the US, even as rights groups increasingly raise concerns over the use of such surveillance methods, Reuters reported Wednesday.

AnyVision, a Holon-based startup founded in 2015 by Neil Robertson and Eylon Ethstein, uses artificial intelligence technology to recognize faces, bodies and objects for security, medical and business purposes, among others.

Facial recognition technology as a whole has come under fire by civil liberties activists who say the tools are biased against people of color and infringe upon citizens’ privacy.

The technology is in wide use, from unlocking phones to picking out a suspect’s face at borders or mass gatherings. Since increased use of the technology could help keep crime and terror in check, a global debate is now raging regarding its pros and cons.

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