Today, Microsoft Corporation has announced that it is banning the sale of facial recognition technology to law enforcement agencies until the federal court comes up with a legitimate and humanitarian law for its usage on citizens.
Microsoft has become the third organization after Amazon and IBM to protest against biased usage of the technology by cops and other agencies.
In a statement, the Redmond-based company said, “We do not sell our facial recognition technology to U.S. police departments today, and until there is a strong national law grounded in human rights, we will not sell this technology to police.” (via Washington Post)
While America is witnessing mass protests in all of the states against racism after the death of George Floyd, facial recognition technology has been notorious for its bias against people with dark-colored skin.
In a study, it was found that facial recognition technology used to “safeguard the American people” struggles in recognizing the faces of black people, which can lead to false arrests.
Previously, Amazon halted the sale of its facial recognition software “Rekognition” for one year. The retail giant is hoping that the government will implement strict laws for the ethical usage of the technology in this moratorium period.
Similarly, IBM wrote a letter to Congress informing them that the company won’t supply the facial recognition software as it could be used to violate “basic human rights and freedoms.”
The decision of big tech companies is applaudable and, at the same time, gives an opportunity to the government for framing stringent laws against the skewed technology’s usage.