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Dec. 22, 2009


A YouTube video claiming that facial-recognition software developed by HP is "racist" drew a response from the company Dec. 22 after media picked up on the digital knock.

The video, posted on the Google-owned portal Dec. 10 by Desi Cryer, showed HP's software track a white co-worker but it did not detect Cryer, who is black.

The clip, titled "HP computers are racist," has drawn more than 350K views and nearly 1,800 comments. "I think my blackness is interfering with the computer's ability to follow me," Cryer says in the demonstration.

"Everything we do is focused on ensuring that we provide a high-quality experience for all our customers, who are ethnically diverse and live and work around the world," said HP social media strategist Tony "Frosty" Welch, in a statement posted on HP's "Voodoo" blog. "That's why when issues surface, we take them seriously and work hard to understand the root causes."

Welch, who thanked Cryer and the scores of viewers and comments for bringing the issue to the company’s attention, suggested poor foreground lighting could be the cause of the discrepancy highlighted by Cryer.

He posted a link to more information about the tracking software.

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