Brad Smith talks about not selling face recognition services, laws around content moderation and more in his latest interview

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Microsoft Brad Smith

Microsoft’s President Brad Smith is on a tour to promote his latest book Tools and Weapons: The Promise and the Peril of the Digital Age. As a part of his tour, Brad Smith sat down with Reuters to talk about the pressing issues that are troubling the tech companies at the moment.

Brad has been open about the ethical and moral issues in his book and has also noted that Trump administration’s attempt to take help from Microsoft to spy on people. Now, he confirmed that Trump wasn’t the only person who came to Microsoft for help. He said, there was another government who wanted to deploy Microsoft Facial ID services. The company feared that the tech could be misused and denied the request. Brad didn’t mention who asked for it but he did mention that Microsoft is not interested in selling any services that might allow the government to run mass surveillance programs on its citizens.

We won’t sell facial recognition services for the purposes of mass surveillance anywhere in the world.

– Brad Smith

Smith even criticized China for using similar technology on its citizen and argued that Microsoft has valid reasons for the development and use of the technology. However, he did urge the government to keep and move faster to regulate these technologies before they get out of the hand.

It’s hard to innovate if you can’t use something, and it’s hard to learn if you can’t innovate.

– Brad Smith

Facial recognition is not the only thing he talked with Reuters. Smith also pressed on the need for accountability surrounding content moderation. He didn’t point fingers at anyone but did note that the content shared on social media should be actively moderated. Currently, Section 230 of the U.S. Communications Decency Act protects companies from being sued for the content published on their website. However, Smith pointed out that the law was passed back in the late 1990s when the situation was different and it needs to be updated according to the current scenario.

The laws around the world are going to change, and because technology is so global, American companies will adopt a new approach even if the United States Congress does nothing.

– Brad Smith

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