In a public letter to Congress on 8 June 2020, US tech company IBM announced it would no longer endorse the usage of facial recognition technology in law enforcement.
Many have hailed data as the new oil. In half a century the internet has rapidly invaded the lives of its 4.33bn users which has created a new widespread commodity: data. According to the World Economic Forum, the planet produces 2.5 quintillion bytes of it every day. As the capacity of data analytics software has advanced, so has the profitability of collecting large quantities of data. For example, personal data (information not limited to: your health records, banking providers and products, location, beliefs and personal preferences) is worth a lot to advertisers who can use it to specifically target a desired audience. Deriving value from data has helped to create powerful world tech leaders. Some of the most valuable companies in the world (by market value) are tech companies like Alphabet (Google’s parent company), Amazon and Facebook, collectively referred to as GAFAM companies. These companies’ business models are, at least in part, driven by the monetisation of data, which they collect and sell to various buyers.