wordpress blog stats
Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Microsoft will not sell facial recognition tech to police in the US without federal law

facial recognition

Microsoft will not sell its facial recognition technology to police departments in the US until there is a federal law regulating its use, the company’s president, Brad Smith told the Washington Post yesterday. “We do not sell facial recognition technology to police departments in the United States today. But I do think this is a moment in time that really calls on us to listen more, to learn more, and most importantly, to do more. Given that, we’ve decided that we will not sell facial recognition to police departments in the United States until we have a national law in place ground in human rights that will govern this technology,” Smith said. Until then, the company will “put in place some additional review factors so that we’re looking into other potential uses of the technology that goes even beyond what we already have”.

This comes amid protests across the United States against police violence and racial profiling, and a day after Amazon halted police use of its controversial facial recognition system, Rekognition, for a year. It also comes a few days after IBM announced that it will stop offering “general-purpose facial recognition and analysis software”.

However, Microsoft’s decision is more aligned towards Amazon’s stance, wherein, it’s calling for regulation around it, and not entirely ruling out the possibility of selling the technology to the police. Also, both these companies have only committed to halting the sale of the tech to police in the US, suggesting that they can sell it to law enforcement agencies elsewhere. Microsoft has reportedly sold its facial recognition software to at least one American prison and funded an Israel-based facial recognition company. Microsoft’s decision also only talks about halting the sale of facial recognition technology to police departments in the US, and it isn’t clear if this means that the company will keep selling it to other law enforcement agencies. The company did not say if they will halt any development of the tech until there’s a federal regulation.

Even as the company called for a regulation grounded in “human rights” it has lobbied for state facial recognition regulations. In March this year, the state of Washington passed a bill regulating the use of the facial recognition technology, which barred states and local government agencies from using facial recognition systems without a warrant or court order. The Bill’s main sponsor, Senator Joe Nguyen, is an employee at Microsoft, which had unsurprisingly supported the Bill. Rights group American Civil Liberties Union had strongly opposed the Bill, because it had no moratorium period on the technology, and lacked any meaningful accountability or enforcement measures, among other things. “No company backed bill should be taken seriously unless the communities most impacted say it is the right solution,” ACLU said in a statement following Microsoft’s decision to halt the sale of the tech to police in the US.

The protests in the US against racial discrimination have forced companies to take a stand against facial recognition, especially because the technology is known to be biased, particularly against people of colour and other underrepresented communities. Amazon’s facial recognition tool Rekognition, for instance, misidentified 28 members of Congress as criminals. Research, in general, has shown that facial recognition tools are worse at detecting and identify faces of darker-skinned people, thereby creating ample room for discrimination and persecution.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Written By

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

Views

News

The DSCI's guidelines are patient-centric and act as a data privacy roadmap for healthcare service providers.

News

In this excerpt from the book, the authors focus on personal data and autocracies. One in particular – Russia.  Autocracies always prioritize information control...

News

By Jai Vipra, Senior Resident Fellow at Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy The use of new technology, including facial recognition technology (FRT) by police...

News

By Stella Joseph, Prakhil Mishra, and Yash Desai The Government of India circulated proposed amendments to the Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020 (“E-Commerce Rules”) which...

News

By Rahul Rai and Shruti Aji Murali A little less than a year since their release, the Consumer Protection (E-commerce) Rules, 2020 is being amended....

You May Also Like

News

Rajesh Kumar* doesn’t have many enemies in life. But, Uber, for which he drives a cab everyday, is starting to look like one, he...

News

By Aroon Deep and Aditya Chunduru You’re reading it here first: Twitter has complied with government requests to censor 52 tweets that mostly criticised...

Advert

135 job openings in over 60 companies are listed at our free Digital and Mobile Job Board: If you’re looking for a job, or...

News

Google has released a Google Travel Trends Report which states that branded budget hotel search queries grew 179% year over year (YOY) in India, in...

MediaNama is the premier source of information and analysis on Technology Policy in India. More about MediaNama, and contact information, here.

© 2008-2021 Mixed Bag Media Pvt. Ltd. Developed By PixelVJ

Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Name:*
Your email address:*
*
Please enter all required fields Click to hide
Correct invalid entries Click to hide

© 2008-2021 Mixed Bag Media Pvt. Ltd. Developed By PixelVJ