• Overview - Inactive

    The Safe Face Pledge was launched in 2018 as opportunity for organizations to make public commitments towards mitigating the abuse of facial analysis technology. This historic pledge prohibits lethal use of the technology, lawless police use, and required transparency in any government use.


    Among the most concerning uses of facial analysis technology involve the bolstering of mass surveillance, the weaponization of AI, and harmful discrimination in law enforcement contexts. The Safe Face Pledge provided actionable measurable steps organizations could take to follow AI ethics principles by making commitments to:

    • Show Value for Human Life, Dignity, and Rights
    • Address Harmful Bias
    • Facilitate Transparency
    • Embed Commitments into Business Practices


    The pledge was drafted by the Algorithmic Justice League and the Center on Technology & Privacy at Georgetown Law who sunset the project in February 2021.

  • Launch Signatories

    Inaugural Companies of the Safe Face Pledge - December 2018

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    A social enterprise that builds biometric technology to increase transparency and efficiency in global development, working in countries across Africa and South Asia.

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    A British company, establishing a global identity system that protects users from both identity theft and having their data collected and exploited.

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    A deep learning company that uses AI technology to provide real-time facial analysis services in natural settings

  • Become a Safe Face Signatory

    A formal agreement will be sent to solidify commitment.

  • Launch Pledge Champions

    The following organizations* and individuals support the actionable steps outlined in the Safe Face Pledge.

    Joy Buolamwini - Founder

    Algorithmic Justice League*

    "The Safe Face Pledge serves as a reminder that facial analysis technology regardless of accuracy is not immune to abuse. While algorithmic fairness may be approximated through reductions in error rates, algorithmic justice necessitates a transformation in the design, development, deployment, oversight, and regulation of facial analysis technology - a transformation that values human life and dignity by ensuring vulnerable and marginalized populations are protected not harmed as artificial intelligence evolves. The Safe Face Pledge is a start."


    Laura Moy - Executive Director

    Center on Privacy & Technology*

    "We study police use of face recognition, and all too often we find that this technology is being used with little or no accountability, oversight, and transparency. In many instances the vendors themselves are the best situated to know who is using automated facial analysis tools, for what purposes—and to anticipate and prevent uses that are harmful or irresponsible. We’re pleased that with this pledge, vendors are publicly recognizing that they have an opportunity—and a responsibility—to do the right thing here."


    Ethan Zuckerman - Director, Center for Civic Media at MIT

    Center for Civic Media*

    "It's critical that corporations take their civic responsibilities seriously and that we, as consumers, hold them responsible for honoring pledges like this one. The Safe Face Pledge is an opportunity for corporations to practice reviewing new technologies and ensuring they are being used carefully, appropriately and with an eye towards social justice."

    Lucas Mason-Brown - Co-founder

    Data for Black Lives*

    "Facial Recognition (FR) technology has tremendous potential to assist and empower the most marginalized among us. In recent years, FR has been used to diagnose illness, locate missing persons, and assist the blind. At the same time, applications of FR by government agencies and private companies for the purposes of surveillance and policing pose a serious threat to Black people and all people. These applications belong to a larger history of social control — from the Fugitive Slave Act to gang databases — by which Black communities have been disproportionately impacted. We are proud to endorse [these] new standards for the ethical use of facial recognition technology."

    Michael McAfee - President and CEO


    "The Safe Face Pledge is a critical step forward in creating a just and fair society through the use of technology. It’s time for leadership in designing a society that values human life and eliminates harmful bias – especially for low-income communities and communities of color."

    Cathy O'Neil - CEO & Author, "Weapons of Math Destruction"

    O'Neil Risk Consulting and Algorithmic Auditing (ORCAA)*

    "Facial recognition technology is a powerful tool. Unfortunately, we have not developed sufficient guidelines around when, where, and why to use it, when it is sufficiently accurate to be used, for whom it fails, and what the consequences of that failure are for those people. Until we've had a vigorous and inclusive public conversation around these issues, we should ban its use in liberty- or life-threatening situations."

    Sasha Costanza-Chock - Associate Professor of Civic Media, MIT

    "Facial analysis technology is already being used in ways that disproportionally harm already-marginalized people. The Safe Face Pledge is an important move towards minimizing those harms; companies that want to take the high road should sign on as soon as possible."

    Noel Sharkey - Chair, International Committee for Robot Arms Control & Principle Spokesperson, Campaign to Stop Killer Robots

    "This pledge is not an option. It is a must if we are to stop the erosion of social justice and dignity by algorithm and the decision to kill by machine."

    Subbarao Kambhampati - Professor, ASU & Past President, AAAI

    "Reining in inadvertent amplification of societal biases, or threats to individual privacy are among the most urgent tasks in managing the risks of data-driven AI technology."

    Toby Walsh - Professor of Artificial Intelligence, UNSW Sydney & (Previous) Scientific Director, National ICT Australia Ltd

    "Face recognition software is already being used for immense good - helping, for instance, to prevent child trafficking. On the other hand, it is also being used for immense bad - helping, for instance, to suppress religious minorities in China. We need to act now to promote the good and prevent the bad."

    Meredith Broussard - Data Journalist & Author of "Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World"

    Stuart Russell - Professor of Computer Science, UC Berkeley

    Raja Chatila - IEEE Fellow & Director of the Institute of Intelligent Systems and Robotics (ISIR)

    AI Transparency Institute , Switzerland*

    The Institute for Ethical AI & Machine Learning*

    Future of Life Institute*

  • Become a Pledge Champion

  • Pledge Made Possible By

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    MIT Media Lab

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    Center for Civic Media