Microsoft Will not Promote Facial Recognition Know-how to Police

Microsoft followed in the footsteps of other technology giants and announced that it would not sell its facial recognition monitoring software to law enforcement agencies.

Microsoft President Brad Smith announced the announcement Thursday during a live interview with the Washington Post.

"We will not sell facial recognition technology to US law enforcement agencies until we have a national human rights law that regulates that technology," said Smith. "The bottom line for us is protecting human rights when using this technology."

Microsoft is joining other technology companies like Amazon and IBM to ban or end facial recognition technology this week.

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IBM was the first company to announce that the company will no longer develop or offer universal facial recognition or analysis software. Amazon followed suit on Wednesday, banning the police from using its facial recognition software Recognition for a year.

These companies, which restrict facial recognition software and cut law enforcement ties, are a direct result of worldwide protests by a Minneapolis police officer against George Floyd's death.

Fight for the Future, the Digital Rights Group, which originally called for a ban on state use of facial recognition last year, said the steps taken by these technology companies were "essentially a PR stunt," but added that the bans passed Congress could encourage action.

"It's also a sign that facial recognition is becoming increasingly politically toxic, due to the incredible organization that is currently taking place locally," said Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future, in a statement. ÔÇťAmazon and Microsoft know that facial recognition software is dangerous. You know that it is the perfect tool for tyranny. You know that it is racist – and that in the hands of the police it will simply exacerbate systemic discrimination in our criminal justice system. "

A Microsoft spokesman told Digital Trends that the company has called for strict government regulation on the use of facial recognition.

"We are committed to working with others to advocate for the required laws. We also use this opportunity to further strengthen our review processes for any customer who wants to use this technology on a large scale," said the spokesman.

In an interview with Digital Trends about facial recognition technology (FRT), the lawyer for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Saira Hussain, said: "The government should never have access to FRT and it is not compatible with a democratic society. It violates our first and fourth right to change. "

Regarding privacy, Hussain told Digital Trends that she fears companies will develop this technology without considering the ethical implications.

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