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Microsoft Wants Regulation For Facial Recognition Technology To Start in 2019

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

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Microsoft currently has 54 Azure Cloud regions -- more than AWS and Google combined.

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 in 2019, Microsoft President Brad Smith has said.

“Unless we act, we risk waking up five years from now to find that facial recognition services have spread in ways that exacerbate societal issues,” warned Smith in a blog post on Thursday.

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

Speaking of the benefits of the technology, the Microsoft President mentioned that police in New Delhi recently trialled facial recognition technology and identified almost 3,000 missing children in four days.

Similarly, historians in the US have used the technology to identify the portraits of unknown soldiers in Civil War photographs taken in the 1860s.

Researchers successfully used facial recognition software to diagnose a rare, genetic disease in Africans, Asians and Latin Americans.

And in October, the National Australia Bank designed a proof of concept to enable customers to withdraw money from an Automatic Teller Machine using facial recognition and a PIN.

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Regulation for facial recognition technology must start in 2019: Microsoft. Pixabay

But at the same time, the potential for abuse of this technology is huge, Smith said, adding that certain uses of this technology could lead to biased decisions and discrimination.

Moreover, the widespread use of this technology can lead to new intrusions into people’s privacy, he said.

“The use of facial recognition technology by a government for mass surveillance can encroach on democratic freedoms,” Smith added.

Also Read- Fujifilm Launches its Medium Format Mirrorless Camera in India

“While we believe that new laws and regulations are indispensable, we also recognise that they are not a substitute for the responsibility that needs to be exercised by tech companies,” he said.

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

The company, Smith said, would start adopting new principles to manage the issues surrounding facial recognition technology in the first quarter of 2019. (IANS)

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44 Million Users Using Leaked Passwords: Microsoft

"Our numbers show that 99.9 per cent of identity attacks have been thwarted by turning on MFA," said Microsoft

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FILE - Microsoft Corp. signage is shown outside the Microsoft Visitor Center in Redmond, Wash.
FILE - Microsoft Corp. signage is shown outside the Microsoft Visitor Center in Redmond, Wash. VOA

Microsoft has discovered that over 44 million users of its Azure and Microsoft Services Accounts (MSA) are using leaked credentials to log into their accounts.

The Microsoft identity threat research team regularly checks billions of credentials obtained from different breaches to look for compromised credentials in the Microsoft systems.

In 2019, the threat research team checked over three billion credentials and found a match for over 44 million Azure AD and Microsoft Services Accounts.

“For the leaked credentials for which we found a match, we force a password reset. No additional action is required on the consumer side,” the company said in a statement.

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FILE – A sign for Microsoft is seen on a building in Cambridge, Massachusetts, March 18, 2017. VOA

On the enterprise side, Microsoft will elevate the user risk and alert the administrator so that a credential reset can be enforced.

“Given the frequency of passwords being reused by multiple individuals, it is critical to back your password with some form of strong credential,” suggested the tech giant.

Also Read: This NASA-ISRO Mission Set to Crunch Key Space Data in Cloud

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is an important security mechanism that can dramatically improve your security posture.

“Our numbers show that 99.9 per cent of identity attacks have been thwarted by turning on MFA,” said Microsoft. (IANS)