back to article Clean up this hot sticky facial-recog mess for us, Microsoft begs politicos

Microsoft has urged US Congress to regulate the American government's use of facial-recognition technology provided by, er, Microsoft and others. This plea comes just weeks after the Windows giant came under heavy fire for offering facial-recognition services to Uncle Sam's controversial Immigration and Customs Enforcement ( …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shit hits the corporate fan...

    I'd wager it's Microsoft slimeballs lying through their teeth, to save face. (quite literally).

  2. Mark 85 Silver badge

    “We believe Congress should create a bipartisan expert commission to assess the best way to regulate the use of facial recognition technology in the United States,"

    Just a small problem with this.... leaving it to Congress to define "a bipartisan commission" or be running it? I seriously doubt one could find a more computer illiterate group of people (there are a few exceptions in Congress however) anywhere. I suspect they will do it, and pick advisors based upon campaign contributions.

    1. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Does anyone believe that Congress can define anything that is actually bipartisan?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'Clearer ethical principles' or Totally Disingenuous?

    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/06/20/microsoft_ceo_nadella_we_only_do_legacy_emails_for_ice/

    Microsoft like to preach about ethics and principles a lot, especially when they get caught. They did it before above. 'Nadella trumpeted Microsoft's "ethics" and "principled" approach."... MS ethics are a need to be 'seen' to be doing something, not what the word means. How about this for ethics:

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    A + B <> C

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    A:

    "Microsoft Chairman Thompson expressed distaste for companies whose ad-financed businesses share or sell user data, while declining to comment on Facebook Inc. specifically. “Many of them make money off Ads and they have used that (user data) as kind of a leverage point,” he said “At Microsoft, we don’t believe in that.” Microsoft Corp. Chairman John Thompson

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-04-30/if-microsoft-finds-another-linkedin-deal-chairman-is-all-in

    ----------------------------

    B:

    "Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella: It's important for tech companies to “self-police” or build the tools that create transparency, make sure that people's privacy is protected.” - "Nadella spoke forcefully in favor of .... the privacy of customer data."

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-28/microsoft-ceo-urges-tech-to-focus-on-self-policing-not-regulation-fears

    ----------------------------

    C:

    ....."When we talk about why we're upgrading the Windows 10 install base, why is that upgrade free? MS CFO asked during a meeting with Wall Street analysts. These are all new monetization opportunities once a PC is sold. Microsoft's strategy is to go low on consumer Windows licenses, hoping that that will boost device sales, which will in turn add to the pool of potential customers for 'Advertising'".....

    ....."CEO Nadella has referred to the customer revenue potential as 'lifetime value' in the past -- and did so again last week during the same meeting with Wall Street -- hinting at Microsoft's strategy to make more on the back end of the PC acquisition process. The more customers, the more money those customers will bring in as they view 'Ads'".....

    https://www.computerworld.com/article/2917799/microsoft-windows/microsoft-fleshes-out-windows-as-a-service-revenue-strategy.html

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: 'Clearer ethical principles' or Totally Disingenuous?

      Typical large company. Left hand does not know what right hand is doing.

  4. JohnFen

    Yes but

    "“The only effective way to manage the use of technology by a government is for the government proactively to manage this use itself,” Smith said."

    This is true. However, it's also incumbent on any company to refrain from selling their goods and services to entities that have no interest in avoiding abuses.

    1. onefang
      Big Brother

      Re: Yes but

      "“The only effective way to manage the use of technology by a government is for the government proactively to manage this use itself,” Smith said."

      Why do foxes and hen houses come to mind when I read that?

  5. skalamanga

    When your headline writer suddenly changes direction...

    10chars

  6. T. F. M. Reader

    Confused

    1. A $BIG_CORP is concerned about potential questionable uses of its face recognition tech. Fine.

    2. The $BIG_CORP urges the legislators of its home country to regulate things like whether or not the $BIG_CORP should ask their users for permission to use the tech on the user's devices. Huh? If that's what makes your peace and quite, why don't you just start asking your users before/without any regulation? And as for 3rd party, e.g., government use of your tech they license or buy, first, things that you are concerned about are already illegal, and secondly, feel free to put restrictions into contracts/licenses. Oh, you are concerned that your competitors will not be as scrupulous or conscientious? How much is your conscience worth to you then?

    3. Whether or not regulation is passed, the same $BIG_CORP will undoubtedly hide the users' automatic consent somewhere on page 739 of legalese of the T&C that users will be deemed to have agreed to by reading the text clicking on the link or checking a box, and the opt-out process will be phenomenally convoluted and impractical.

    Dear MSFT, by now you are a grown-up, you don't need your parents' government's help to do stuff.

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