The Lede, Friday, July 13, 2018
By David Royse
Good Morning Mr. Orwell. Mr. Gates Wants A Word.
There have been calls before for some regulation of the use of facial recognition – including some that I’ve written here at LedeTree.
But few of those have come from the paragons of tech, especially companies that actually work on the artificial intelligence that is at the center of the face recognition programs.
Microsoft now is saying some regulation of facial recognition tech is likely needed, The New York Times reported today. The Times contextualizes the story in the larger environment of tech companies that have a growing sense that some of them have gotten too far ahead of the public’s comfort level – to the degree that the public understands what they do. Facebook sharing data would be the big current cultural reference to hit here. In that environment, tech companies are looking for ways to assure the society at large that they’re not to be feared, to be over-regulated, to be shut down.
But it could also be a legitimate realization that in this instance, there are very real discussions that need to be had around civil liberties, privacy, and the potential benefits of the technology.
“Tech giants rarely advocate for regulation of their products. But in recent months, some have been harshly criticized for their role in spreading false information, facilitating Russia’s effort to undermine the 2016 election, and exploiting users’ personal data. Now that many consumers and legislators have grown more concerned about the downsides of social media and smartphones, some companies, like Facebook, are expressing more openness to regulation of political advertising and other practices.
With many of its rivals under fire, Microsoft has seized the opportunity to position itself as the moral compass of the tech industry. Company executives have been outspoken about safeguarding users’ privacy as well as warning about the potential discriminatory effects of using algorithms to make important decisions like hiring…..Now that facial recognition has become a new focus for critics, Microsoft is taking the lead in calling for some regulatory restraint.”
If you want to read Microsoft’s Brad Smith’s blog post yourself, rather than relying on the New York Times to give you that context, well that’s good, too! Here you go
It’s an important read if you’re interested in where our society may be going in this regard.
You say that you’re watching me on the telly
A couple of things interesting to note:
About half of us is in a law enforcement face recognition network, according to The Georgetown Law Center on Privacy and Technology. More than 25 states allow police to search driver’s license databases, as Florida does, to compare license images to suspect photos.
And companies are working on (or have implemented) surveillance combined with facial recognition in some “smart city” efforts.
Notes From the Age of Disruption
Is investing in Magic Leap. TechCrunch
Is getting the new Army Futures Command (as the name implies, the techy, future weapons wing of the army). Defense News
Other Stories from LedeTree and Elsewhere
Some of my co-workers at LedeTree (they’re siblings) have a grandfather who years ago started a foster home/ranch and raised generations of boys in Wisconsin who wouldn’t have otherwise had good family upbringings. John Gillespie, now 82, has written a book about the place, the Rawhide Ranch.
This overlooked deadline may put a wrench in some cannabis companies’ plans in Florida. Miami Herald