Firms quiet facial tech
Microsoft says it is holding off on selling facial recognition to US police departments.
The tech giant says federal regulations are needed to create “strong national law grounded in human rights” before it sells face-scanning technology to police.
Microsoft is the latest in a series of firms that are backing away from the surveillance business.
Amazon recently declared it will pause police use of its “Rekognition” service, while IBM has announced it is no longer is generally offering facial recognition software, suggesting it may be used to promote racial injustice.
Microsoft says it is working on enacting principles and legislation for using face-scanning software.
“We do not sell our facial recognition technology to US police departments today, and until there is a strong national law grounded in human rights, we will not sell this technology to police,” the company said in a statement.
Research shows facial analysis and identification is often less accurate for people with darker skin tones, which could lead to false matches and unjust arrests.
“When even the makers of face recognition refuse to sell this surveillance technology because it is so dangerous, lawmakers can no longer deny the threats to our rights and liberties,” says Matt Cagle, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California.
The US Congress has been debating possible regulation for months.