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Microsoft Calls for Facial Recognition Technology Rules Given ‘Potential for Abuse’

The only effective way to manage the use of technology by a government is for the government proactively to manage this use itself, the Microsoft President added

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The computer-assisted facial recognition can recognise people's faces from a photo or through a camera.
The computer-assisted facial recognition can recognise people's faces from a photo or through a camera. Pixabay
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At a time when facial recognition technology is fast becoming a part of our lives, Microsoft has become the first tech giant to initiate a call for regulations to limit the technology that can be used for mass surveillance affecting civil liberties.

In a blog post on Friday, Microsoft President Brad Smith said a government initiative to regulate the proper use of facial recognition technology is the need of the hour.

“We believe US Congress should create a bipartisan expert commission to assess the best way to regulate the use of facial recognition technology in the US,” Smith said.

The purpose of such a commission “should include advice to Congress on what types of new laws and regulations are needed, as well as stronger practices to ensure proper congressional oversight of this technology across the executive branch”, the Microsoft President noted.

Several tech companies, including Microsoft, have utilised face-recognition technology in the past several years to turn time-consuming work to catalog photos into something both instantaneous and useful.

However, Microsoft has already rejected requests to deploy the technology in situations involving “human rights risks”, Smith informed.

Smith earlier called for a new digital Geneva Convention that commits governments to defending and protecting civilians from state-sponsored cyber-attacks.

“We live in a nation of laws, and the government needs to play an important role in regulating facial recognition technology.

“A world with vigorous regulation of products that are useful but potentially troubling is better than a world devoid of legal standards,” Smith suggested.

In a blog post on Friday, Microsoft President Brad Smith said a government initiative to regulate the proper use of facial recognition technology is the need of the hour.
In a blog post on Friday, Microsoft President Brad Smith said a government initiative to regulate the proper use of facial recognition technology is the need of the hour. Pixabay

The computer-assisted facial recognition can recognise people’s faces from a photo or through a camera.

This technology can catalog your photos, help reunite families or potentially be misused and abused by private companies and public authorities alike.

“Facial recognition technology raises issues that go to the heart of fundamental human rights protections like privacy and freedom of expression,” Smith wrote.

In recent weeks, a group of Amazon employees objected to its contract with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), while reiterating concerns raised by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) about law enforcement’s use of facial recognition technology.

IT company Salesforce’s employees have raised the same issues related to immigration authorities and these agencies’ use of their products.

Also Read: Microsoft Team is Now Available to Use for Free

“Demands increasingly are surfacing for tech companies to limit the way government agencies use facial recognition and other technology,” Smith said.

The only effective way to manage the use of technology by a government is for the government proactively to manage this use itself, the Microsoft President added.

Issues relating to facial recognition go well beyond the borders of the US and “it requires active engagement by governments, academics, tech companies and civil society internationally”.

“As we move forward, we’re committed to establishing a transparent set of principles for facial recognition technology that we will share with the public,” Smith informed. (IANS)

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Microsoft now Fixing ‘Surface Pen’ Inaccuracy Issues

Earlier, this year Microsoft launched a warranty replacement programme for Surface Pro 4 units affected by screen flickering issues

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Microsoft’s latest Surface Pro firmware update fixes Surface Pen accuracy issues
Microsoft’s latest Surface Pro firmware update fixes Surface Pen accuracy issues. Pixabay

Microsoft has reportedly curated a software fix for the inaccuracy of its stylus called “Surface Pen” for Surface Pro tablet users who have been facing issues on using the digital pen, while resting the hand on the screen.

“Microsoft has been investigating a fix, and the latest Surface Pro firmware update, available on Windows Update now addresses problems with ‘palm rejection affecting Surface Pen accuracy’,” The Verge reported late on Thursday.

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Microsoft had claimed earlier that “Surface Pen” was the fastest digital stylus in the world shortly before Apple fired back with an even faster “Apple Pencil.” Pixabay

The solution comes as a relief to the Surface Pro owners because the inaccuracy of the “Surface Pen” got treated by a simple software fix instead of involving unit replacements.

“Affected users have confirmed pen strokes are now fully accurate when resting a hand on the Surface Pro screen,” the report added.

Also Read: Samsung Launches Galaxy Note 9, Will be Manufactured in India’s Largest Plant

Microsoft had claimed earlier that “Surface Pen” was the fastest digital stylus in the world shortly before Apple fired back with an even faster “Apple Pencil.”

Earlier, this year Microsoft launched a warranty replacement programme for Surface Pro 4 units affected by screen flickering issues. (IANS)