Microsoft announced two years ago that it was withdrawing its investment Israeli start-up AnyVision, Reveals On the edge. Facial recognition software expert, which was developed in 2015 in Tel Aviv. The US company paid $ 74 million in June 2019 through its venture capital fund M12.
The role of AnyVision in the West Bank.
The move follows an audit by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who is now a member of the Covington & Burling law firm. The purpose of the investigation is to determine the role of the startup in the West Coast monitoring program. NBC News In October 2019. Associations defending fundamental rights accuse the start-up of being used to monitor Palestinians in the area. But the cabinet decided. ” AnyVision’s technology did not exist before and is currently not implementing a mass surveillance program in the West Bank.
However, Microsoft has decided to sever all ties with the start-up and goes even further by announcing that it will drop any minority investment in companies that specialize in face recognition. ” The audit process reaffirmed the difficulties of being a minority partner in a company that sells sensitive technology, as these investments generally do not allow Microsoft to monitor or control the use of its own technology.“, Explains the company before adding” Microsoft has moved toward business relationships, which restrict the use of highly supervised and sensitive technologies..
Call for regulation
Although Microsoft has moved away from investing in face recognition companies, it continues to develop its own technology. With Azure Cognitive Services, the “Face” API is available to any developer ” Integrate facial recognition into applications for a transparent and highly secure user experience “. In 2018, Microsoft President and General Adviser Brad Smith promised A blog post By claiming that the company will never sell its face recognition technology for surveillance purposes. He also urged governments to adhere to a clear legal framework in this regard. Repeated call.
Asked by Digital factoryIn February 2020, Bernard Urgenlian, Microsoft France’s director of technology and security, explained “The call for regulation is above all else, so we are stepping out of this kind of role that is not ours. We are depriving ourselves of state rights. Microsoft is not a state, we have never been elected and we have no legal right to interfere in these issues..