Mi­crosoft backs rules for fa­cial recog­ni­tion

Chattanooga Times Free Press - - BUSINESS NEWS -

Amid a grow­ing call for reg­u­la­tions to limit the use of fa­cial recog­ni­tion tech­nol­ogy, Mi­crosoft on Fri­day be­came the first tech gi­ant to join the cho­rus.

Brad­ford L. Smith, the com­pany’s pres­i­dent, com­pared the tech­nol­ogy to prod­ucts such as medicines and cars that are highly reg­u­lated, and he urged Congress to study it and over­see its use.

“We live in a na­tion of laws, and the govern­ment needs to play an im­por­tant role in reg­u­lat­ing fa­cial recog­ni­tion tech­nol­ogy,” Smith wrote. “A world with vig­or­ous reg­u­la­tion of prod­ucts that are use­ful but po­ten­tially trou­bling is bet­ter than a world devoid of le­gal stan­dards.”

Fa­cial recog­ni­tion has be­come a new fo­cus for crit­ics. The pow­er­ful tech­nol­ogy can be used to iden­tify peo­ple in pho­tos or video feeds with­out their knowl­edge or per­mis­sion. Pro­po­nents see it as a po­ten­tially im­por­tant tool for iden­ti­fy­ing crim­i­nals, but civil lib­er­ties ex­perts have warned that the tech­nol­ogy could en­able mass surveil­lance, hin­der­ing peo­ple’s abil­ity to freely at­tend po­lit­i­cal protests or go about their day-to-day lives in anonymity.

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