Axon ethics Board

Policing Project Faculty Director Barry Friedman

Policing Project Faculty Director Barry Friedman

The AI and Policing Technology Ethics Board is an independent review board founded by Axon for the purpose of guiding and advising the company around ethical issues relating to the development and deployment of artificial intelligence (AI)-powered policing technologies. Policing Project Founder and Faculty Director Barry Friedman is an original member of Axon’s AI and Policing Technology Ethics Board. Further, the Policing Project staffs the Board and facilitates its meetings and the publication of its conclusions and recommendations.

Axon (formerly TASER International) is the country’s largest producer of body-worn cameras and has created a number of other law enforcement tools, including TASERS and Evidence.com. Axon’s AI and Policing Technology Ethics Board operates independently from the company and is made up of experts in the fields of AI, computer science, privacy, law enforcement, civil liberties and public policy. The Board advises Axon around ethical issues relating to the development and deployment of AI-powered policing technologies and works to ensure these technologies ultimately serve the communities where they will be used.

The AI Ethics Board released its first report in June 2019 outlining its recommendations on the use of face recognition technologies. In response to the concerns and recommendations raised in this report, Axon agreed to not proceed with the development of face matching products, including adding these capabilities to body-worn cameras, given the current state of the technology.

The Policing Project’s role on the AI Ethics Board is consistent with our mission to ensure that technology is used to benefit police and communities, and that it does so in ways that are transparent and avoid creating or reinforcing unfair bias. Speaking with PC Mag in April 2018, Friedman further explained the need for public conversation around this developing technology and concerns of over-reliance on facial recognition technology beyond its intended use.

Visit Axon’s website for more on the charter and operating principles of the Axon AI and Policing Technology Ethics Board.

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