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This is a summary of the need for government regulation and responsible industry measures to address advancing facial recognition technology. Facial recognition brings important and even exciting societal benefits but also the potential for abuse. Microsoft is talking with technologists, companies, civil society groups, academics and public officials around the world.  It’s time for action.

Governments should start adopting laws to regulate this technology. If we wait, these challenges will be much more difficult to bottle up later. 
We must ensure that this technology, and the organizations that develop and use it, are governed by the rule of law. 
There are sufficient answers for good, initial legislation in this area that will enable the technology to continue to advance while protecting the public interest. It’s critical that governments keep pace with this technology, and this incremental approach will enable faster and better learning across the public sector. 

We should not wait for governments to act. Tech companies need to start creating safeguards to address facial recognition technology. This technology can serve our customers in important and broad ways, and increasingly we’re not just encouraged by many of the facial recognition applications Being deployed. Microsoft has decided to adopt six principles to manage these issues:

Governments and the tech sector both play a vital role in ensuring that facial recognition technology creates broad societal benefits while curbing the risk of abuse. The technology is young. We need to tackle the initial questions now and learn as we go, developing more knowledge and expertise as the technology evolves.

‘The secret of getting ahead is getting started.’ – Mark Twain 

The time to start is now.

Opportunities from facial recognition

Facial recognition can have positive benefits for people around the world. 

 Police in New Delhi recently trialed facial recognition technology and identified almost 3,000 missing children in four days. Historians in the United States 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 & Latin Americans. 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.

Microsoft is one of several companies playing a leading role in developing facial recognition technology.  We’re working with customers around the world, while acting aggressively on industry-leading efforts to improve the capability of this technology to recognize faces with a range of ages and skin tones

Problems that need to be addressed

We have identified these top 3 problems:

First, certain uses of facial recognition technology increase the risk of biased decisions, in some cases, in violation of laws prohibiting discrimination.

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

And third, the use of facial recognition technology by a government for mass surveillance can encroach on democratic freedoms.

We believe all three of these problems should be addressed through legislation.

This is an extract of a Microsoft article. The full article can be found on https://blogs.microsoft.com/on-the-issues/2018/12/06/facial-recognition-its-time-for-action/

CJ Heystek

Webcafe Business Systems Africa

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