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Big Tech Pulls Back on Facial Recognition Over ‘Racism’

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Facial Recognition-2by Mary Jo Foley, ZDNet

On the heels of Amazon and IBM taking stances about selling facial-recognition technology to law enforcement officials, Microsoft officials are weighing in, again, on the issue. Microsoft President and Chief Counsel Brad Smith says that the company won’t sell the technology to police departments until there’s a federal law regulating the technology, as noted in a Washington Post report.

In April 2019, Microsoft refused to install facial-recognition tech in California law enforcement officers’ cars and body cameras due to human rights concerns. Smith has said during a Post Live event that Microsoft had not sold its facial-recognition technology to law enforcement at all. Smith has also said that Microsoft plans to put in place “review factors” that would go beyond what Microsoft already has to determine the use of facial-recognition beyond law enforcement, the Post reported.

Smith’s comments basically echo Microsoft’s stance since 2018 when officials advocated publicly for government regulation over facial recognition technology.

Microsoft has been championing a number of facial-recognition principles for the past couple of years including fairness, transparency, accountability, non-discrimination, notice and consent and lawful surveillance.

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© 2020 CBS Interactive

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