Microsoft to Deploy Facial Recognition Ethics of its Own

IndraStra Global

Microsoft to Deploy Facial Recognition Ethics of its Own

By IndraStra Global News Team

Microsoft to Deploy Facial Recognition Ethics of its Own

On January 23, 2018, Bloomberg reported on Microsoft's upcoming plan to implement self-designed ethical principles for its facial recognition technology by the end of March (2019). Earlier in December 2018, the company has called for action in the form of new legislation to govern artificial intelligence (AI) software for recognizing human faces. "We do need to lead by example and we’re working to do that," Brad Smith, Microsoft's President, and Chief Legal Officer is quoted as saying in the report. Also, he added that some other companies are also putting similar principles into place.

According to Smith, By the end of March Microsoft will "operationalize" its principles, which involves "drafting policies, building governance systems and engineering tools and testing to make sure it’s in line with its goals." It also involves setting controls for the company’s global sales and consulting teams to prevent selling the technology in cases where it risks being used for an "unwanted purpose". However, it has yet not provided any detail how it would implement its new principles.

In a blog post published earlier in December 2018, Smith said "We believe it’s important for governments in 2019 to start adopting laws to regulate this technology. The facial recognition genie, so to speak, is just emerging from the bottle. 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."

In November 2018,  National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) evaluated the algorithms of Microsoft's facial recognition technology and verified it as "the most accurate or nearly the most accurate of 127 algorithms tested". 

Parallel Development


On January 15, 2018, a coalition of over 85 racial justice, faith, and civil, human, and immigrants’ rights groups sent letters to Microsoft, Amazon, and Google demanding the companies commit not to sell face surveillance technology to the government. Just 6 days after, on January 21, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the Department of Justice (DoJ) demanding any records on the agency’s use of facial recognition technology. The request seeks records from the DoJ as a whole, as well as component agencies the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).