Thursday, Apr 9, 2020
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Microsoft, Alphabet divided on EU facial recognition ban

EU facial recognition ban
Microsoft President Brad Smith cited that the technology is important as it can help NGOs find missing citizens

Microsoft President Brad Smith and Alphabet Chief Executive Sundar Pichai have divided views on the EU’s proposed temporary ban on facial recognition technology. Pichai favours the EU ban on facial recognition technology, while Smith considers it a technology overkill. 

Smith told the media that, “I’m really reluctant to say, ‘let’s stop people from using technology in a way that will reunite families when it can help them do it. There is only one way at the end of the day to make technology better, and that is to use it.” He cited that facial recognition technology can be helpful for NGOs to track missing citizens. 

The EU proposes to temporarily ban the use of facial recognition technology in train stations, sport stadiums and shopping centres over excessive use of this technology. The EU ban on facial recognition technology, if implemented, will last between three and five years, the media report said. 

The draft of the proposed ban is in accordance with the general data protection regulation for EU citizens. According to Smith, rules must be identified after the use of facial recognition technology to a certain period. This in turn will help regulators identify the problems accurately. 

Pichai said the rules should be sector-based, for instance, medical device artificial intelligence and self-driving cars. 

Despite facial recognition technology becoming a widespread adoption in private and public surveillance, the EU’s proposed ban might stall its use in Europe for a while. For now, the General Data Protection Regulation requires consent from the European citizens to deploy the technology in public spaces. 

The EU Commission is currently taking feedback from citizens before giving a verdict, the media reported. 

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