Microsoft has been quite vocal about its views on the need for government regulation and responsible industry measures to address advancing facial recognition technology. Recently, it revealed the principles that will guide them in how they develop and deploy facial recognition technology. In an event with United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Microsoft President Brad Smith revealed that Microsoft recently denied sales of its facial-recognition tech due to human rights concerns.
Microsoft received a request from California law enforcement agency’s to install facial recognition technology in officers’ cars and body cameras. Since Microsoft’s face recognition tech may lead to more cases of mistaken identity with women and minorities, many innocent people will get affected if this tech is deployed broadly. Taking an ethical stand, Microsoft has decided not to sell its technology. However, Smith also revealed that Microsoft sold the same technology to an American prison as the impact would be limited and it would lead to improved safety inside the prison.
It looks like Microsoft will sell its facial recognition tech by evaluating customer’s use cases. I think it is a good move and the whole tech industry should adopt similar process.