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Amazon Partners with Microsoft to Regularise Facial Recognition Technology

The company would start adopting new principles to manage the issues surrounding facial recognition technology in the first quarter of this year

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The logo of Amazon, online retailer is seen at the company logistics center in Lauwin-Planque, France. VOA

Joining Microsoft’s call to tame the misuse of facial recognition technology, retail giant Amazon’s Cloud arm, Amazon Web Services (AWS), has asked lawmakers to formulate some rules around the use of the technology.

The announcement came amid increasing scrutiny on the use of facial recognition by researchers, lawmakers and civil liberties groups.

“Facial recognition should always be used in accordance with the law, including laws that protect civil rights,” Michael Punke, Vice President, Global Public Policy, AWS, said in a blog post on Thursday.

“When facial recognition technology is used in law enforcement, human review is a necessary component to ensure that the use of a prediction to make a decision does not violate civil rights.”

AWS said that it supports the creation of a national legislative framework covering facial recognition through video and photographic monitoring on public or commercial premises.

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A man walks past a Microsoft sign set up for the Microsoft BUILD conference at Moscone Center in San Francisco, April 28, 2015. VOA

“Our view is that facial recognition technology and video/photo surveillance should be covered by the same notice framework,” Punke noted.

In a blog post in December, Microsoft President Brad Smith had said that given the potential for abuse of the fast advancing facial recognition technology, governments across the world need to start adopting laws to regulate this technology.

“Unless we act, we risk waking up five years from now to find that facial recognition services have spread in ways that exacerbate societal issuese.

“The time for action has arrived,” Smith wrote, adding that the industry must also exercise restraint while using this technology.

According to Punke, there have been concerns about facial recognition technology and its potential use in connection with video monitoring in public or commercial settings.

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Security guards stand at the reception desk of the Amazon India office in Bengaluru, India, Aug. 14, 2015. VOA

“We support the calls for an appropriate national legislative framework that protects individual civil rights and ensures that governments are transparent in their use of facial recognition technology.”

Punke, however, said new technology should not be banned or condemned because of its potential misuse.

“Instead, there should be open, honest, and earnest dialogue among all parties involved to ensure that the technology is applied appropriately and is continuously enhanced,” he noted.

Also Read- Apple Faces Lawsuit For Forcing Users to Repeatedly Buy New Chargers

Microsoft is one of several companies playing a leading role in developing facial recognition technology.

The company would start adopting new principles to manage the issues surrounding facial recognition technology in the first quarter of this year. (IANS)

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Microsoft to Increase Skype Group Members to 50

These features have been made available for beta testers on all platforms and are likely roll out more broadly later.

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Microsoft is planning to increase the maximum number of people who could be part of a Skype group. Pixabay

Software giant Microsoft is planning to increase the maximum number of people who could be part of a Skype group call from 25 to 50 members.

With this update, Skype is also enabling the audio and video buttons in larger groups to let users easily mute their microphones or turn their webcams on or off as per their convenience, Engadget reported on Friday.

Keeping the call ringing feature completely optional, Skype Version 8.41.76.55 would notify users of an incoming call by just sending a notification on the group.

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Skype is also enabling the audio and video buttons in larger groups to let users easily mute their microphones or turn their webcams on or off as per their convenience. Wikimedia

“When you start a call in groups, it will send a notification instead of ringing all the members, to not interrupt those who can’t join,” the company wrote in a blog-post.

ALSO READ: Facebook Rolls Out Gaming Tab As a Part of The App

These features have been made available for beta testers on all platforms and are likely roll out more broadly later. (IANS)