A homeless in front of the Microsoft Vancouver. — Photo by: @heinrich_boll

Microsoft Will Not Sell Facial Recognition to the Police

Following IBM’s and then Amazon’s suspension of sales to facial recognition technology to police a recent announcement from Brad Smith shows Microsoft is following suit

After the death of George Floyd in the US and increased tensions around racial issues several large technology companies have announced that they are halting the sales of facial recognition technologies used in policing.

Microsoft, like Amazon, has said it will revisit the issue when stronger regulation is in place. These two companies does not go as far as IBM, which said it will stop selling facial recognition tech.

This is not without considerable effort by activist and only a short time ago Microsoft held a completely different position. A letter from the The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) read as following:

Now however, the statement by Microsoft sounds rather different.

During a remote interview at a Washington Post Live event this morning, the company’s president Brad Smith said Microsoft has already been taking a “principled stand” on the proper use of this technology.

This is certainly a move in the right direction and adds to the momentum of companies admitting to limitations in facial recognition technology, certainly a positive move for the industry overall.

AI Policy and Ethics at www.nora.ai. Student at University of Copenhagen MSc in Social Data Science. All views are my own. twitter.com/AlexMoltzau