HP: our webcams aren't racist

HP is responding to claims that the facial-tracking technology used by its Webcams is somehow racist

HP is responding to claims that the facial-tracking technology used by its webcams is somehow racist.

A YouTube video uploaded earlier this month showed a Webcam, identified as being an HP model, failing to follow a face when the person on-screen was black. When a white woman stepped in front of the same camera, the facial-tracking system appeared to begin working properly.

"I think my blackness is interfering with the computer's ability to follow me," the man in the video said. "I'm going on record and I'm saying it: Hewlett-Packard computers are racist."

HP acknowledged the problem in a blog posted to its TheNextBench.com site on Sunday. Tony Welch, the lead social media strategist for HP's Personal Systems Group, said the company is currently investigating the issue to figure out what's going on.

"The technology we use is built on standard algorithms that measure the difference in intensity of contrast between the eyes and the upper cheek and nose," Welch explains. "We believe that the camera might have difficulty 'seeing' contrast in conditions where there is insufficient foreground lighting."

Welch suggested users visit HP's Webcam optimization center while the company seeks a full solution.

Those Photoshop-happy guys from Microsoft, meanwhile, must be breathing a sigh of relief.

JR Raphael is co-founder of eSarcasm, an equal opportunity provider of geek humor. You can keep up with him on Twitter: @jr_raphael.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags HPwebcam

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

JR Raphael

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?