Microsoft is withdrawing public access to several facial analysis tools. The company, which had launched in 2015 one that claimed to be able to recognize the emotions of any user, assures, according to The Verge, that the decision was made after “a broader review” of the ethics policies. of the same company, which determine the requirements that the organization must meet to publicly offer certain tools with applied artificial intelligence.
The technology company announced the measure on Tuesday afternoon, at the same time that said regulations were made public on its website. According to Microsoft, while it is true that several developments will be completely removed, not all tools that work with facial recognition algorithms will be withdrawn from the market. Some features like Azure Face will remain available to the public on a limited basis, and others, such as those whose only functionality is to detect faces in images and videos to blur them and protect your privacy, will remain open.
In the case of developments such as Azure Face, public access will be limited. This means that users and companies that need to use this tool must first make a request explaining to the company how they will use it and for what purpose.
The controversy behind the use of facial recognition systems from Microsoft and other technologies
Around the use of artificial intelligence to develop facial recognition systems, there is a whole debate in which expert voices question not only the real effectiveness of this type of tool, but also its own necessity and the ethical reasons behind its implementation. For this reason, within Microsoft’s ethical policy there is a point where the company commits to developing said systems in a supervised manner, if what it seeks is to offer them publicly.
The company founded by Bill Gates is not the only one that has had to take a step back from its facial detection tools. In November 2021, a US court questioned Facebook about the legality of using its own algorithms, after a group of users sued Meta over its tagging technology on the social network.
Mark Zuckerberg’s company was then accused of violating the biometric privacy laws of the state of Illinois, forcing Meta to pay $650 million to those affected and limiting the use of facial recognition to a set of specific cases.