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Microsoft joins the crowd in declining to sell facial biometrics to U.S. police until federal law in place

Microsoft joins the crowd in declining to sell facial biometrics to U.S. police until federal law in place
 

Microsoft has followed Amazon and IBM in declaring it does not sell facial recognition technology to police in the United States, because of its principles, pending the implementation of a national legal framework that will protect against its use in violating human rights.

The decision was announced by Microsoft President Brad Smith in a Washington Post Live event, at which he also said the company has not sold its facial recognition to police before. The wording of the statement seems to suggest the company will still serve federal agency customers.

Smith pointed to Microsoft’s advocacy for federal regulation and ethical principles for facial recognition

“We’ll also put in place some additional review factors so that we’re looking at other potential uses of this technology that go even beyond what we already have for other potential scenarios,” Smith said.

He also pointed out that voluntary limitations by companies attempting to act responsibly do not ensure the responsible behavior of other companies, and urged Congress to act for the good of the nation.

Voices from around the industry have been calling for federal regulation of facial recognition for some time prior to the wave of corporate announcements reflecting acknowledgement of Black Lives Matter protests throughout the U.S.

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