Fight for the future and 27 other human rights organizations wrote a letter requesting Zoom to stop developing emotion tracking software.
Emotion tracking software uses AI to analyze a person’s face during a video call to track emotional and facial reactions. The letter calls this software “invasive technology” [and] violation of privacy and human rights. “
Fight for the Future affects five main points why she and other organizations are concerned. They argue that this is a security risk, discriminatory, manipulative, based on pseudoscience and revenge.
Concern for privacy
According to protocol, one of the purposes of emotional tracking software is to provide sales team with data on whether or not their presentation works for their customer. Knowing the “emotional state” of the client, the team can adjust their strategy on the go. Another goal is to track students’ emotional state, see how engaged they are, and use that data to improve online classes.
Groups are worried that bad actors and even government organizations may steal data from this technology to track people. From there, the technology can be used to discriminate against people from certain groups. Fighting for the future even compares it to facial recognitionwho has been criticized for being unreliable, unfair and invasive.
They are also concerned about companies that monitor consumers to manipulate them or directly punish them for expressing “bad emotions”.
And on top of that, this technology may not even work. Research of Association for Psychological Sciences reveals that the face does not always reflect a person’s emotions, as people can easily hide them.
The letter concludes with the groups asking Zoom to respond and stating that it will no longer continue to develop emotion tracking until May 20, 2022.
Analysis: Zoom’s answer
Zoom has not yet responded to Fight for the Future, but the letter indicates cases where the company worships its users. As early as the end of 2020, Zoom introduced end-to-end encryption for paying users after receiving many reactions to its poor security protocols. And during that same period of time, Zoom removed attention tracking due to such privacy concerns.
While Zoom has changed its mind in the past, the current company may not move. He recently released Zoom IQ for Sales, a meeting add-on that provides post-meeting emotional analysis and transcripts of all conversations.
For those interested, Fight for the future has a petition page where people can sign and support his efforts to get Zoom to remove emotion tracking from its platform.