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Microsoft Cheers, ACLU Jeers Washington State Law Restricting Use of F

Accepted submission by upstart at 2020-04-02 05:50:23

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Microsoft cheers, ACLU jeers Washington state law restricting use of f []:

A new law in Washington state restricting the use of facial-recognition technology is drawing praise from Microsoft [] but criticism from civil liberties advocates.

The law requires state and local governments to get a warrant before using the tech in many instances and provides more public reporting of its use.

In January of each year, judges who issue warrants for the use of technology must report the existence of the warrant, details about what it covers, which governmental entities requested it and the public spaces under surveillance.

Microsoft [], which is headquartered in Washington state and makes facial-recognition technology, praised the law as a “significant breakthrough” in a polarized debate.

Microsoft [] President Brad Smith said he viewed the bill’s approach as both “necessary and pragmatic” to protect the public while respecting their rights.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington disagreed, saying the law allows the government to use racially biased facial recognition technology.

“We will continue to push for a moratorium to give historically targeted and marginalized communities, such as black and indigenous communities, an opportunity to decide not just how face-surveillance technology should be used, but if it should be used at all,” said Jennifer Lee, ACLU of Washington technology and liberty project manager, in a statement.

Mr. Smith said Microsoft [] views the legislation as protecting human rights, including that the technology must not be used on a discriminatory basis toward people of various races, genders, sexual orientations and other groups.

“Ultimately, as we consider the continuing evolution of facial recognition regulation, we should borrow from the famous phrase and recognize that Washington’s law reflects ‘not the beginning of the end, but the end of the beginning,’” he said. “Finally, a real-world example for the specific regulation of facial recognition now exists. Some will argue it does too little. Others will contend it goes too far. When it comes to new rules for changing technology, this is the definition of progress.”

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