Microsoft is now limiting access to facial recognition tech amid protests condemning police discrimination and violence. Point to be noted that IBM and Amazon have already limited access to facial recognition. The president of the company Brad Smith has announced at a Washington Post event that Microsoft won’t sell facial recognition systems to police departments until there’s federal regulation grounded in human rights. It is more of a commitment to the status quo when the company already doesn’t officer facial recognition to police in the United States. But, it does represent a firm line for any would-be deals.
Smith added there will also be review factors to decide the use of facial recognition in other areas and protect rights there as well. The recent attempt is consistent with Microsoft’s stance from the past few years. That move asked the US Congress in 2018 to regulate facial recognition. It has turned down at least one US law enforcement contract that it felt would tread on people’s human rights. Microsoft has already been scaling back its investments in facial recognition. Most experts believe it could lead to more anger from people against police and law enforcement agencies.
Microsoft president @BradSmi says the company does not sell facial recognition software to police depts. in the U.S. today and will not sell the tools to police until there is a national law in place “grounded in human rights.” #postlive pic.twitter.com/lwxBLjrtZL
— Washington Post Live (@postlive) June 11, 2020
It is noteworthy that Microsoft is looking to get its wish for the law, at least to a limited level of access. Democrats in the US Congress have introduced a police accountability bill that would ban the use of real-time facial recognition without the approval of a judge. The bill if it became law wouldn’t address some of the lingering problems, such as racial and gender biases. But, it might decrease the potential for racial profiling, intimidation, privacy intrusions, and some major violations that could come with indiscriminate use. Microsoft is carefully moving towards providing helpful and useful tech features to people, especially for US law enforcement agencies.