Microsoft adopts ethical principles aiming to bar misuse of face recognition technology

A Microsoft logo is seen a day after Microsoft's $26.2 billion purchase of LinkedIn in Los Angeles California US

A Microsoft logo is seen a day after Microsoft's $26.2 billion purchase of LinkedIn in Los Angeles California US

"Governments and the tech sector both play a vital role in ensuring that facial recognition technology creates broad societal benefits while curbing the risk of abuse". Meanwhile, Delta Airlines has begun using facial recognition in place of boarding passes on some worldwide flights from its Atlanta hub. And U.S. Customs and Border Protection has famously begun catching people with fake passports using facial recognition at a number of airports in the U.S.

Nondiscrimination. We will prohibit in our terms of service the use of facial recognition technology to engage in unlawful discrimination. For instance, police officers should be required to obtain a warrant when using facial recognition systems to track a specific individual.

In Thursday's blog post, Smith laid out Microsoft's principles for how it would self-govern its facial recognition work.

While Smith does not provide anything like draft legislation, he does lay out principles that he says should be part of any laws governing the use of facial recognition.

The laws should also require providers of facial-recognition services to undergo third-party testing to check for accuracy and unfair bias.

"We must ensure that the year 2024 doesn't look like a page from the novel "1984", Smith said".

"The facial recognition genie, so to speak, is just emerging from the bottle", Smith said. Smith also announced a significantly increased commitment by Microsoft to help tackle the problem.

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There's just too much money out there that he'd be leaving on the table. "But, if he leaves, we wish him nothing but the best". And we said, 'If this is of interest to you, please come back to us and we'll see whether we can finish it up'.

"Microsoft thinks unchecked facial recognition could lead to biased decisions, lost privacy, and harm to democratic freedoms". He hopes laws can be in place sometime next year.

Smith's recommendations came out the same day that he addressed the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., on the same topic and that other tech executives - including Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella - met at the White House in a session to field ideas for securing US dominance in fields such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing and 5G wireless technology. "We are committed to working closely with customers in the public and private sectors alike", Smith wrote. This is all part of a larger theme advocating for greater protection for its customers privacy and control of their own data, such as the company statement in May committing to the EU's GDPR and its privacy limits. Now, the company is upping its goal to reach an additional one million across the nation.

"In particular, we don't believe that the world will be best served by a commercial race to the bottom, with tech companies forced to choose between social responsibility and market success", he said. After all, any legal action would be tried in Chinese courts controlled by the same government that already violates human rights with impunity.

It isn't enough for the tech industry to regulate itself, he added.

"Without a proper broadband connection, these communities can't start or run a modern business, access telemedicine, take an online class, digitally transform their farm, or research a school project online", Smith said.

Redmond's chief lawyer Brad Smith told Fox Business Network that the company won't shy away from providing the USA with "our best technology" and that it's Microsoft's patriotic duty to do so.

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