Microsoft Refuses to Sell Facial Recognition Technology

Microsoft President Brad Smith said in a speech at Stanford University on Tuesday that Microsoft will hand over its facial recognition technology to the California Police Department and an unnamed capital city. He said he refused. Smith stated that the reason why Microsoft refused to provide this technology was human rights concerns.

In a study by the ACLU, Amazon, which owns Rekognition technology, which is worse at identifying women and minority groups than white men, shared this technology with law enforcement agencies. Talking about this bias of artificial intelligence in facial recognition technology, Smith said that this technology can be used to harm these groups.


Microsoft previously sold this technology to US jails. Speaking on this issue, Smith said that a limited scope of this technology has been sold and stated that it has the potential to increase security inside the prison.

Microsoft was protested by its employees over the virtual reality HoloLens technology agreement with the US military. Speaking about this issue, the company’s CEO, Satya Nadella, denied the rumors that they canceled the deal and said that it is the company’s duty to support the military.

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, called on other technology companies to continue on this path. “Please, include the technologies you develop with a human rights approach,” Bachelet said.

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