Microsoft Refuses to Sell Facial Recognition Tech for Mass Surveillance

Biometrics News - Microsoft Refuses to Sell Facial Recognition Tech for Mass Surveillance

Microsoft is doubling down on its commitment to the ethical use of facial recognition. The company previously refused to sell facial recognition technology to a California law enforcement agency, and has now extended that moratorium to any government organization that would misuse the technology, specifically for surveillance.

“We won’t sell facial recognition services for the purposes of mass surveillance anywhere in the world,” said Microsoft Corp President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith in a recent Reuters interview.

Smith has been a staunch advocate for responsible facial recognition, issuing repeated calls for government regulation of the technology. That might seem to be at odds with his new refusal to sell to government organizations, although the distinction about mass surveillance is significant in that regard. Microsoft has argued that some form of regulatory oversight is necessary to prevent the abuse of facial recognition, and that governments are better positioned for that role than private corporations.

In other words, Smith is primarily concerned about how facial recognition technology is being used, especially when that use is unsupervised. He later indicated that there are ethical uses of facial recognition, and renewed his call for greater government regulation while stopping short of a complete facial recognition ban

Source: Reuters

September 17, 2019 – by Eric Weiss

Like all biometrics solutions, face recognition technology measures and matches the unique characteristics for the purposes of identification or authentication. Often leveraging a digital or connected camera, facial recognition software can detect faces in images, quantify their features, and then match them against stored templates in a database.

Face scanning biometric tech is incredibly versatile and this is reflected in its wide range of potential applications. Learn more on FindBiometrics’ Facial Recognition page.