Microsoft CEO Backs Facial Recognition Regulation

Facial recognition

With concerns mounting over the use of facial recognition technology to monitor people and intrude on privacy, Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella said he supports regulation of the technology.

CNBC, citing comments Nadella made during the World Economic Forum in Davos, reported Nadella said that as the use of facial recognition technology grows self-regulation may not go far enough to contend with the impact it may have on society.

“One of the things that I feel today is, in the marketplace, there’s competition; there’s no discrimination between the right use and the wrong use of facial recognition,” Nadella said, reported CNBC. He noted that self-regulation is still very important but laws may be needed to prevent any harmful outcomes the technology could have. The Microsoft CEO cautioned that regulation has to help and not hinder the marketplace.

According to CNBC, Microsoft has been a leader in raising concerns about how facial recognition technology could be abused. It’s not the first time Nadella has called for government intervention to ensure human rights aren’t violated or that the technology is not used for discrimination. While the technology is being used today to open smartphones by Apple and Samsung, there are worries that China and other countries could use the technology to spy on their citizens, CNBC noted, pointing to Chinese artificial intelligence company SenseTime as one example of that potential. SenseTime provides face identification technology to police to identify potential criminals, and boasts helping to identify over 2,000 crime suspects since 2017, noted CNBC.

In addition for calling for regulation of facial recognition technology, Nadella said there is a need for global regulation concerning privacy. He praised the GDPR data privacy law that recently went on the books in Europe and said it shouldn’t stop with Europe. “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.”