Microsoft became the third big tech company that this week, according to similar movements by Amazon and IBM that will not sell its facial recognition software to the police.
Brad Smith, Microsoft’s President, and Chief Counsel announced the decision and urged Congress to regulate technology during Thursday’s Washington Video Event. He said, “We’ve decided we will not sell facial recognition technology to police departments in the United States until we have a national law in place, grounded in human rights, that will govern this technology.”
The trio of tech giants is moving back from the legal application of systems criticizing people with darker skin incorrectly. Continuing protests following George Floyd’s death have focused attention on racial injustice in the United States and the use of police technology to track people.
However, while all three companies are well known in the development of artificial intelligence, including facial recognition software, none of them are a major player in police sales. Microsoft does not offer Microsoft’s facial recognition to any of the US security forces, he added.
He did not say whether this includes federal law enforcement agencies or police outside the United States. Several other less well-known companies, including Tokyo-based NEC and the European companies Idemia and Gemalto, dominate the market in U.S. government facial recognition contracts.
Microsoft, Amazon, and IBM call upon Congress to lay down national rules on the use of facial recognition by the police.
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