Microsoft Bans Face Recognition Sales To Police

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US government study suggested face recognition algorithms were less accurate at identifying African American faces


Microsoft has become the latest US company to limit police use of its facial recognition technology.

The company said it would not start selling to the United States police until the country approved national technology regulations, which critics say are racially biased and easy to abuse.

Amazon and IBM have already taken similar steps.

These followed widespread protests against police brutality and racial discrimination.

Amazon on Wednesday prohibited police from using its technology for a year, while IBM earlier announced that it would stop offering the technology for “mass surveillance or racial profiling.”

The American Civil Liberties Union has campaigned against such software for years, warning that there is a danger that it will be used for “unsuspecting” widespread surveillance.

“Microsoft, Amazon and IBM have finally started to take action. But we still have a long way to go to put an end to excessive surveillance and surveillance of black and brown communities, “the organization said in a statement.

He called on US lawmakers to order an immediate “pause” on law enforcement use of the technology.

Federal vs local

Companies have come under pressure in recent weeks to respond to protests sparked by the death of George Floyd in police custody.

  • George Floyd: Why are companies speaking this time?

Microsoft President Brad Smith said at an event that the company had not sold to the police and would not start “until we have a national, rights-based law of man, who will govern this technology. ”

Microsoft first called for national regulation more than two years ago, warning that inaction could lead these services to “spread in ways that exacerbate societal problems”.

Businesses tend to favor national rules rather than having to deal with a patchwork of local laws.

However, there are concerns that a national law may be a means of overriding more stringent local regulations.

San Francisco, for example, has already banned facial recognition technology from its police and public agencies.

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