Microsoft aks the government for regulation of facial recognition technology to limit ‘abuse’
After it has helped innovate facial recognition software, Microsoft it’s now urging the US government to enact regulation to control the use of the technology.
Microsoft (MSFT) President Brad Smith said new laws are necessary given the technology’s “broad societal ramifications and potential for abuse.”
Smith urged lawmakers to form “a government initiative to regulate the proper use of facial recognition technology, informed first by a bipartisan and expert commission.”
Facial recognition has been developing rapidly. Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOG), Amazon and Microsoft are among the big tech companies developing and selling such systems. The technology is being used across a range of industries, from private businesses like hotels and casinos, to social media and law enforcement.
Supporters say facial recognition software improves safety for companies and customers and can help police track police down criminals or find missing children. Civil rights groups warn it can infringe on privacy and allow for illegal surveillance and monitoring. There is also room for error, they argue, since the still-emerging technology can result in false identifications.
The accuracy of facial recognition technologies varies, with women and people of color being identified with less accuracy, according to MIT research.
“Facial recognition raises a critical question: what role do we want this type of technology to play in everyday society?” Smith wrote on Friday.
It may seem unusual for a company to ask for government regulation of its products, but there are many markets where thoughtful regulation contributes to a healthier dynamic for consumers and producers alike, he said.