Microsoft refuses to sell facial recognition technology to California LEA

Microsoft President Brad Smith announced that the company had refused to sell its facial recognition technology to a law enforcement agency (LEA) in California, USA. The agency wanted the technology to be installed on officers’ cars and body cameras, but Microsoft rejected the request due to human rights concerns. Microsoft assessed that the use of the technology in this context would lead to innocent women and minorities being disproportionately held for questioning, considering that the algorithms used to feed the technology were mostly trained on photos of white males. Smith also revealed that the company refused a similar request for its facial recognition technology to be installed on cameras in the capital of a country classified as ‘not free’ by the Freedom House. In addition, he called for more careful regulation of facial recognition and other artificial intelligence (AI) technologies.