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Microsoft chief supports facial recognition regulation

Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella has spoken out in support of facial recognition regulation.

Nadella warned during the World Economic Forum in Davos that self-regulation may not be enough to challenge the potentially detrimental impact facial recognition may have on society.

“One of the things that I feel today is, in the marketplace, there’s competition; there’s no discrimination between the right use and the wrong use of facial recognition,” Nadella said, according to CNBC.

He added that while self-regulation continues to be imperative, laws may be needed to prevent any harmful outcomes the technology could have. The Microsoft chief advised that regulation has to help and not hinder the marketplace.

Microsoft, Amazon and Google are leading the way with facial recognition, with Amazon having reportedly sold its Rekognition technology to US law enforcement.

CNBC reports that Microsoft has been addressing and drawing attention to the potential abuses of the technology, requesting government intervention to avoid human rights infringements and discrimination.

Nadella commended the GDPR data privacy law that recently launched in Europe. He said: “I am hopeful that in the United States we will have something that’s along the same lines. In fact, I hope that the world over we all converge on a common standard… Because one of the things we do not want to do is fragment the world and increase transaction cost.”

Last week, Amazon shareholders spoke out against the firm selling its facial recognition technology to law enforcement. The demand to prevent the sale of the Rekognition technology will continue unless the board of directors determines the technology “does not cause or contribute to actual or potential violations of civil and human rights.”

Similarly, letters to Microsoft, Amazon and Google from a coalition of more than 85 activist groups are urging the companies to avoid selling their facial recognition technology to the US government. The letters cautioned the firms that supplying the government with such tech “threatens the safety of community members and will also undermine public trust.”

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