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Microsoft Says It Won’t Sell Its Facial Recognition Tech To Police Without Federal Oversight

SHUTTERSTOCK/Asif Islam

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Microsoft will not sell its facial recognition technology to police departments until government regulations guarantee its “ethical use,” the company’s president said Thursday.

The decision came amid national protests against police brutality following the death of George Floyd, who died while in police custody. The company doesn’t sell facial recognition technology to police and said this policy will continue until legislation “grounded in human rights” is passed, Microsoft President Brad Smith said at a Washington Post live event.

“We will not sell facial-recognition technology to police departments in the United States until we have a national law in place, grounded in human rights, that will govern this technology,” he said.

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The move came after Amazon announced Wednesday that police won’t be able to use its facial recognition technology for a year, and IBM said it cut its facial recognition technology endeavors Monday, CNBC reported.

IBM’s CEO Arvind Krishna and Amazon’s policies are calling for legislation to ensure the technology’s ethical use, according to CNBC. (RELATED: CrossFit CEO Resigns After ‘Creating A Rift’ With George Floyd Tweet)

“For the past two years we have been focused on developing and implementing strong principles that govern our use of facial recognition, and we’ve been calling for strong government regulation. We do not sell our facial recognition technology to US police departments today, and until there is a strong national law grounded in human rights, we will not sell this technology to police departments. We’re committed to working with others to advocate for the legislation that is needed. We’re also taking this opportunity to further strengthen our review processes for any customer seeking to use this technology at scale,” Microsoft Spokeswoman Heather Weitnauer told the Daily Caller News Foundation in a statement.

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