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Microsoft to probe work of Israeli facial recognition startup it funded

Microsoft to probe work of Israeli facial recognition startup it funded
(Reuters) - Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) has hired former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate whether the use of facial recognition technology developed by an Israeli startup it funded complies with its ethics principles, the company said on Friday. FILE PHOTO: The Microsoft sign is shown on top of the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles,…

(Reuters) – Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) has hired feeble U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate whether or no longer utilizing facial recognition expertise developed by an Israeli startup it funded complies with its ethics ideas, the firm acknowledged on Friday.

FILE PHOTO: The Microsoft ticket is shown on high of the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles, California, U.S. October 19,2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File List

AnyVision, basically basically based outdoors Tel Aviv, has arrive underneath scrutiny following experiences by Haaretz’s TheMarker enterprise newspaper and NBC News that its expertise is feeble to surveil Palestinians who live within the occupied West Bank.

AnyVision, which denied to NBC such consume of its products and services, did not reply to a ask for comment.

The probe displays rising unease about facial recognition surveillance within the United States and in totally different areas that civil liberties groups affirm could per chance outcome in unfair arrests and restrict freedom of expression.

Microsoft introduced facial recognition ethics ideas last yr, announcing the firm would “indicate for safeguards for folks’s democratic freedoms in regulation enforcement surveillance scenarios and can no longer deploy facial recognition expertise in scenarios that we judge will put these freedoms at risk.”

Microsoft acknowledged in a dispute that Holder would lead a team from regulation agency Covington & Burling to behavior the probe. Holder, the close U.S. apt reputable underneath feeble President Barack Obama, used to be hired by Uber Technologies Inc (UBER.N) in 2017 to seek out out about claims of sexual harassment.

He did indirectly return a ask for comment.

M12, the enterprise fund of Redmond, Washington-basically basically based Microsoft, participated in a $74 million sequence A funding round that AnyVision introduced in June.

NBC had reported that AnyVision’s expertise used to be feeble all around the West Bank and at Israeli border crossings. The firm suggested NBC its utility used to be no longer feeble for West Bank surveillance and used to be deployed at border crossings in a formulation comparable to U.S. Customs’ consume of biometric identification at airports.

Israel faces criticism and a boycott for its occupation and insurance policies toward Palestinians within the West Bank and Gaza.

AnyVision in an August blog post additionally acknowledged that it would instruct an ethics advisory board and that it had a accountability to forestall its expertise’s abuse. On the identical time, it touted how facial recognition hastens border crossings whereas helping regulation enforcement location criminals.

Microsoft itself markets a facial recognition utility and backed a U.S. Senate bill, introduced on Thursday, that will per chance require a court uncover prior to federal regulation enforcement could per chance consume the expertise for targeted, ongoing surveillance.

Neema Singh Guliani, senior legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, acknowledged the bill “falls woefully quick of defending members’s privacy rights.”

Reporting By Jeffrey Dastin in San Francisco; Enhancing by Peter Henderson and Sonya Hepinstall

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