After Amazon & IBM, Now Microsoft Bans Sale Of Facial Recognition Tech

Washington's Microsoft bans police face recognition sales big techs react to protest

Following Amazon, Microsoft will no longer sell facial-recognition software to police

Microsoft president Brad Smith reported at an function that the company experienced not sold to police departments and would not get started "until we have a national legislation in position, grounded in human rights, that will govern this know-how".

Microsoft's announcement follows similar statements from Amazon and IBM.

Both consumer advocates and civil liberties groups have long warned about the dangers of facial recognition technologies, particularly with respect to the police.

Smith said the business would still have "review factors", to find different ways in which the facial-recognition tech may be used, "that go even beyond what we already have".

But privacy advocates are anxious about how the technology is being used.a lot of police departments are using the cameras in conjunction with facial recognition technology.

"They [MS] should be excluded from federal government contracts".

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The president retweeted Richard Grenell, the former acting director of national intelligence, who criticized Microsoft's announcement that they would not sell facial recognition tools to police until there was federal legislation surrounding the technology.

The moves come in the midst of protests about law enforcement brutality and bias after a police officer killed George Floyd, an unarmed black man.

The decision from the three tech giants, who all chose to ban or pause the sales of facial recognition in the last few days, comes two weeks after the alleged murder of George Floyd.

Earlier this week, IBM announced that it would stop developing facial recognition technology altogether. In that instance, it was argued that the poor quality of police cameras, as well as the likelihood the technology would be used in low light conditions, meant that facial recognition would likely produce a high error rate.

Microsoft has become the third organization after Amazon and IBM to protest against biased usage of the technology by cops and other agencies. Ongoing protests following the death of George Floyd have focused attention on racial injustice in the USA and how police use technology to track people. Smith said Thursday that Microsoft now doesn't sell its face recognition software to any US police departments.

But if all the responsible companies in the country cede this market to those that are not prepared to take a stand, we won't necessarily serve the national interest or the lives of the black and African American people of this nation well.

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