Microsoft Corp on Friday said it would sell its stake in AnyVision, an Israeli facial recognition startup, and said it no longer would make minority investments in companies that sell the controversial technology.
Microsoft came under investigation last summer for participating in a $74 million funding round for AnyVision, which critics stated contradicted the company's principles. The Windows creator will rather concentrate on bigger ventures where it has to a greater extent a say.
A Microsoft-funded audit, led by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder at Covington & Burling, found AnyVision's technology is being used at the border between the West Bank and Israel but not for mass-surveillance.More news: Oil Down as Broken Market Drowns in Crude
"Available evidence demonstrated that AnyVision's technology has not previously and does not now power a mass surveillance programme in the West Bank that has been alleged in media reports". Microsoft is retreating to keep away from future allegations where there are clear security breaches. When his appeals seemed to fall on deaf ears, the president, alongside his board, made a decision to create their own regulations, tagging them "principles".
These six Microsoft principles guiding its application, use and by extension, investment in facial recognition technology are: fairness, transparency, accountability, non-discrimination, notice and consent, and lawful surveillance.
Microsoft said there was no change to its internal work on facial recognition. "We are sharing these principles now, with a commitment and plans to implement them by the end of the first quarter in 2019". Microsoft has defined principles to guide its personal development of the expertise, saying it should function without bias and must not impinge on democratic freedoms.
The problem, however, is controlling companies where it only has minority stakes or investments is not feasible.More news: Nurmagomedov said that the UFC is looking for another opponent for Ferguson
Thus for the goal of its image the sensible thing to do would be to walk away.
We and other tech companies need to start creating safeguards to address facial recognition technology.
Redmond: Microsoft said Friday it is pulling its investments from a facial-recognition startup that scans faces at Israeli military checkpoints, even though the tech giant couldn't substantiate claims that the startup's technology is used unethically.More news: Italy’s deaths from coronavirus exceed 10,000 despite lockdown