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Microsoft Calls For Laws To Stop Bias In Facial Recognition

Mike Colgan
December 10, 2018 - 9:26 am

There are growing concerns about the rising use of facial recognition technology, because it's been shown to be less accurate at identifying people with darker skin color. 

Officials at Microsoft are so concerned about the apparent bias in this type of artificial intelligence that they're called on Congress to pass legislation.

The company's President Brad Smith wrote a blog post that sellers of the technology must "recognize that they are not absolved of their obligation to comply with laws prohibiting discrimination against individual consumers or groups of consumers."

The blog post was reported by Bloomberg, which said that Microsoft is also calling for companies to reveal their facial recognition testing procedures due to the poorer performance of some programs when directed at people with darker complexions. 

"They're far less accurate. They often cannot tell accurately whether a subject is a man or a woman. They have difficulty telling specifically who the person is," said Bloomberg reporter Dina Bass, who wrote about Microsoft's call for greater oversight. 

The company is "concerned about whether widespread use of these sorts of products in certain cases can lead to new intrusions into privacy or encroach on democratic freedoms if they're used for mas government surveillance," Bass said.