Facial recognition is emerging as a conflicting technology causing key disagreement among the world’s giant tech companies. Google CEO, Sundar Pichai is somehow in favor of the temporary ban on facial recognition technology as suggested by the EU, but Microsoft’s chief legal officer Brad Smith is not.
Recently, as per draft document obtained by POLITICO, European Union leaders suggested the ban on the use of facial recognition in public places for up to five years. It may be extended until the safeguards are in place to mitigate the technology risks.
SCOOP with colleague @bsmithmey :
The EU is considering to ban the use of facial recognition in public spaces for up to five years until safeguards to mitigate the technology’s risks are in place, according to a draft we obtained.https://t.co/m6whuSd0aK
— Janosch Delcker (@JanoschDelcker) January 16, 2020
This decision of the EU has caused a rift between many big technology companies. Earlier this week on Monday, Pichai didn’t show any dissatisfaction with the decision of ban on the technology; in fact, he said in a conference
“I think it is important that governments and regulations tackle it sooner rather than later and give a framework for it. It can be immediate but maybe there’s a waiting period before we really think about how it’s being used … It’s up to governments to chart the course.”
However, Smith had some other thoughts regarding this decision. In his interview published last week, he was dismissive of the idea. According to him, facial recognition is a “young technology and it will get better with time” and when you can solve the problem that enables good things to get done and stop bad things to happens then let it be.
He said in his interview
“But the only way to make it better is actually to continue developing it. And the only way to continue developing it actually is to have more people using it.”
Law enforcement and private enterprises from all over the world are actively using facial recognition technology to identify people in public spaces. While some people are in favor of the technology that helps solve crimes, critics argue that it’s unsupervised and unchecked technology that poses a threat to civil liberties due to algorithmic bias.
The two executives’ comments come as a result of an unofficial statement of the EU five-year ban on the use of facial recognition in public spaces. However, there could be changes in the EU’s statement when announced officially. As per the leaked information, this temporary ban would give governments and regulators time to assess the dangers and risks associated with the technology.