Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) has become the first tech giant to join the increasing demands of regulating facial recognition. The Company announced its position on facial recognition on Friday in a blog post about the potential risks of facial recognition. In the blog post, Microsoft President Bradford L. Smith compared facial recognition to other highly regulated products which are heavily regulated, such as medicine and cars.
“We live in a nation of laws, and the government needs to play an important role in regulating facial recognition technology. As a general principle, it seems more sensible to ask an elected government to regulate companies than to ask unelected companies to regulate such a government,” said Smith.
Facial recognition is a relatively new technology that can be used to identify people in photos or video feeds without their knowledge or permission. Microsoft has requested that the government intervene in its uses and regulate the technology, and for the “development or norms around acceptable uses.”
Although the new technology may be used for good intentions, such as aiding in finding missing children and identifying criminals, Smith warns that the technology can also be used for evil. “All tools can be used for good or ill. Even a broom can be used to sweep the floor or hit someone over the head. The more powerful the tool, the greater the benefit or damage it can cause,” he says.
Microsoft has taken initiative by regulating its sales of its facial recognition technology. The Company has rejected certain customer requests for facial recognition technology where it deemed that “there are greater human rights risks.”