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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser, Axios

IBM is facing a backlash after NBC News reported the company is using a set of Flickr images to help train a facial recognition system.

Why it matters: Although the photos in question were shared under a Creative Commons license, many photographers note they never imagined their images would be used in this way. Furthermore, the people shown in the images didn't consent to anything.

IBM defended its project as an effort to improve the accuracy of facial recognition and said it was being used for research, rather than commercial purposes. They said...

"IBM has been committed to building responsible, fair and trusted technologies for more than a century and believes it is critical to strive for fairness and accuracy in facial recognition."
"We take the privacy of individuals very seriously and have taken great care to comply with privacy principles, including limiting the Diversity in Faces dataset to publicly available image annotations and limiting the access of the dataset to verified researchers."

Flashback: IBM publicly said it selected a sampled subset of 1 million images from Yahoo's Flickr dataset when it first launched this project.

Community technologist Jessamyn West, who publicly criticized IBM for using 15 of her images, told Axios that she's concerned about the way permissions granted in one context are being used to do something entirely different.

"I'm less concerned with my own photo being used in some weird way by IBM but by what I see as 'mission creep' where these things start out as one thing and turn into another."

In response, IBM said those looking to opt out of the project, whether photographers or subjects, can do so here.

Go deeper: IBM release statements on the facial recognition AI project

Go deeper

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
25 mins ago - Health

Who benefits from Biden's move to reopen ACA enrollment

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Nearly 15 million Americans who are currently uninsured are eligible for coverage on the Affordable Care Act marketplaces, and more than half of them would qualify for subsidies, according to a new Kaiser Family Foundation brief.

Why it matters: President Biden is expected to announce today that he'll be reopening the marketplaces for a special enrollment period, but getting a significant number of people to sign up for coverage will likely require targeted outreach.

1 hour ago - Technology

Big Tech bolts politics

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Big Tech fed politics. Then it bled politics. Now it wants to be dead to politics. 

Why it matters: The social platforms that profited massively on politics and free speech suddenly want a way out — or at least a way to hide until the heat cools. 

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

GameStop as a metaphor

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A half-forgotten and unprofitable videogame retailer is, bizarrely and incredibly, on the lips of the nation. That's because the GameStop story touches on economic and cultural forces that affect everyone, whether they own a single share of stock or not.

Why it matters: In most Wall Street fights, the broader public doesn't have a rooting interest. This one — where a group of small traders won a multi-billion-dollar bet against giant hedge funds by buying stock in GameStop — is different.