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Immediate Need For Government Regulations Over Face Recognition Technology: Microsoft CEO

Immediate Need For Government Regulations Over Face Recognition Technology: Microsoft CEO
There is need for the United States to develop its own version of Europe’s new GDPR regulatory framework, said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella at the World Economic Forum in Davos while stressing on the need for securing privacy on the internet.
And with regards to online regulations, Nadella was specifically concerned with the need for the desperate need for governmental oversight now for facial recognition technology. According to him, if this is not done immediately, soon things related to facial technology would be taken by tech companies to the extreme level and the technology can be put to use in things that cross the line with the result that very frightening new capabilities would be added to the surveillance state.
While the views of Nadella at Davos about the need for regulatory oversight over privacy issues appeared to be somewhat broad and high-level, his comments were very specific about facial recognition technology. He equated the technology currently to be the same as the Wild West for the tech industry. This means that this technology is not very well understood by outsiders even though there is a huge potential for misusing the technology without any form of robust constraints on it currently.
“One of the things that I feel today is, in the marketplace, there’s competition,” Nadella said during this week’s annual gathering of movers and shakers from around the world. “There’s no discrimination between the right and the wrong use of facial recognition.”
While not taking any names publicly, Nadella clearly warned that governments and others should not pin their faith on tech companies to self-regulate themselves in this aspect. His comments can be put to perspective by recollecting a number of privacy breaches that have recently made the headlines of media and were related to companies ranging from Amazon to Facebook. The chief executive of the US tech giant urged the governments to step in or else there would basically just be a “race to the bottom” with respect to facial recognition technology if there is not government intervention,.
The comments from Nadella also bear importance in light of certain recent events of privacy breach such as the news hat earlier this month where it was alleged that doorbell cameras being used to spy on their owners. This is exactly the kind of thing issues that are cause of concerns for some people with respect to facial recognition technology – even as companies like Apple and Samsung claim that this technology is a much better way to securing tech devices compared to alternatives to traditional methods such as like a password.
Last December, Microsoft called for governmental regulations for imposing limited to the use of artificial intelligence software in facial recognition systems, and had also said that it wants to draw up and implement a set of ethics guidelines with relation to the technology developed by the company before the end of March.
Nadella also described the EU’s new GDPR privacy regulation, which was implemented last year, to be a “fantastic start”. He also added that the US as well as other governments should also take some cue from the EU’s GDPR regulations.
“I am hopeful that in the United States we will have something that’s along the same lines,” Nadella said. “In fact, I hope that the world over we all converge on a common standard. Because one of the things we do not want to do is fragment the world and increase transaction cost.”

Christopher J. Mitchell

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