Over the past year, Silicon Valley has been grappling with the way it handles our data, our elections, and our speech. Now it’s got a new concern: our faces.

In just the past few weeks, critics assailed Amazon for selling facial recognition technology to local police departments, and Facebook for how it gained consent from Europeans to identify people in their photos. Microsoft has endured its own share of criticism lately around the ethical uses of its technology, as employees protested a contract under which US Immigration and Customs Enforcement uses Microsoft’s cloud-computing service.

Microsoft says that contract did not involve facial recognition. When it comes to facial analysis, a Microsoft service used by other companies has been shown to be far more accurate for white men than for women or people of color.

In an effort to help society keep pace with the rampaging development of the technology, Microsoft President Brad Smith today is publishing a blog post calling for government regulation of facial recognition. Smith doesn’t identify specific rules; rather, he suggests, among other things, that the government create a “bipartisan and expert commission” to study the issue and make recommendations.

Smith poses a series of questions such a commission should consider, including potential restrictions on law-enforcement or national-security uses of the technology; standards to prevent racial profiling; requirements that people be notified when the technology is being used, particularly in public spaces; and legal protections for people who may be misidentified. But he doesn’t detail Microsoft’s view of the answers to those questions. Read more from wired.com…

thumbnail courtesy of wired.com