Microsoft is ending its minority investments in facial recognition startups and is pulling its stake in AnyVision, which is an Israeli startup currently facing controversy.
AnyVision has been facing backlash after reports detailed how it has been using facial recognition to surveil Palestinians around the West Bank. This report infringed on Microsoft’s promise that it would not use facial recognition to impede on democratic freedoms.
Although it was revealed that AnyVision limited the facial recognition technology to border crossing, Microsoft is backing out to ensure that it remains clear of privacy breaches.
The tech giant says that these types of minority investments don’t allow it to have oversight or control of decisions, and that it wants to focus on larger investments where it can have more control.
This may be a good move on Microsoft’s part since facial recognition technology has been coming under fire recently. For instance, New-York based Clearview AI has been making headlines after it was revealed that numerous police forces, including the RCMP, have been using the technology.
It seems that Microsoft wants to avoid being caught up with the controversies that have been surrounding facial recognition startups.