George Floyd: Microsoft bars facial recognition sales to police

George Floyd: Microsoft bars facial recognition sales to police

Black man with facial recognition algorithms

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Getty Images

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A U.S. government study suggested that facial recognition algorithms were less accurate in identifying African American faces

Microsoft became the last American company to restrict police use of its facial recognition technology.

The company said it will not initiate sales to the US police departments until the country approves national technology legislation, which critics say is racially distorted and easy to abuse.

Amazon and IBM have already made similar moves.

Widespread protests followed against police brutality and racial discrimination.

Amazon banned the police from using its technology for a year on Wednesday, while IBM said it would stop offering “mass surveillance or racial profiling” technology.

The American Civil Liberties Union has campaigned against such software for years, warning that there is a danger to which it will be used for widespread “unsuspected” surveillance.

“Microsoft, Amazon and IBM have finally started to act. But we still have a long way to go to end the surveillance and surveillance of black and brown communities indefinitely,” the organization said in a statement.

He called on US lawmakers to order an immediate “pause” on law enforcement use of technology.

Federal vs local

Businesses have been under pressure in recent weeks to respond to protests sparked by George Floyd’s death in police custody.

  • George Floyd: Why are companies talking this time?

Microsoft President Brad Smith said at an event that the company had not sold to the police departments and would not start “until we have adopted a national human rights law that will regulate this technology.” .

Microsoft first asked for national regulation more than two years ago, warning that inaction could lead to these services “spreading in ways that aggravate social issues.”

Companies tend to favor national rules rather than being forced to face a patchwork of local laws.

However, there are some concerns that a national law could be a way of bypassing stricter local regulations.

San Francisco, for example, has already banned face recognition technology from the police and public bodies.

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