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Microsoft pushes urgency of regulating facial-recognition technology

Author: Jay Greene & Douglas MacMillan, The Wall Street Journal, Published on: 7 December 2018

Microsoft Corp. is urging governments world-wide to enact regulation of facial-recognition technology next year that requires independent assessment of accuracy and bias and prohibits ongoing surveillance of specific people without a court order... Microsoft’s advocacy of regulation underlines the ambivalence over powerful new technologies enabled by advances in AI. Adoption of facial recognition is proceeding quickly—especially in China, where the government uses it extensively for surveillance—stirring concerns about potential misuse... This year, dozens of civil-rights organizations called on Amazon to stop selling its facial-recognition technology to law-enforcement organizations. Asked about those concerns at a press conference last week, Andy Jassy, chief executive of Amazon Web Services, said the company hasn’t seen any abuses of the technology... Mr. Smith highlighted three areas where governments should focus legislation: racial and gender bias, privacy and mass government surveillance... “If a responsible company turns down business because it regards a particular use of facial recognition as likely to increase discrimination or abuse human rights, and then it sees its competitors go forward and gain those sales, you not only put people’s rights at risk, you risk tipping the market towards an approach that is less socially responsible,” Mr. Smith said in an interview. [also refers to Alphabet, Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft & Uber]

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