Microsoft is urging governments to enact legislation next year that requires facial-recognition technology to be independently tested to ensure accuracy, prevent unfair bias and protect individuals’ rights. “The facial recognition genie, so to speak, is just emerging from the bottle,” Microsoft chief counsel Brad Smith wrote in a blog post published Thursday. “Unless we act, we risk waking up five years from now to find that facial recognition services have spread in ways that exacerbate societal issues. By that time, these challenges will be much more difficult to bottle back up.” Smith advocated for human review of facial recognition results rather than leaving them to computers. “This includes where decisions may create a risk of bodily or emotional harm to a consumer, where there may be implications on human or fundamental rights, or where a consumer’s personal freedom or privacy may be impinged,” he wrote. He added that those deploying the technology must “recognize that they are not absolved of their obligation to comply with laws prohibiting discrimination against individual consumers or groups of consumers.” Facial-recognition technology is commonly used for everyday tasks such as like unlocking phones and tagging friends on social media, but privacy concerns persist. Advances in artificial intelligence and the proliferation of cameras have made it increasingly to watch and track what individuals are doing. Law enforcement agencies frequently rely on technology to help with investigations, but the software isn’t without its flaws. Software used by the UK’s Metropolitan Police was reported earlier this year to… [Read full story]
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