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After Microsoft calls for regulation on facial recognition technology, we examine Silicon Valley’s protest of controversial government projects

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Microsoft is calling on Congress to regulate the use of facial recognition technology to protect people's privacy and freedom of expression.

It's the first big tech company to raise serious alarms about an increasingly sought-after technology for recognizing a person's face from a photo or through a camera. Microsoft President Brad Smith said in a blog post Friday that the government should form a bipartisan expert commission. Smith says Microsoft, which supplies face recognition to some businesses, has already rejected some customers' requests to deploy the technology in situations involving "human rights risks."

A Microsoft spokeswoman declined to provide more details about what opportunities the company has passed over because of ethical concerns. Smith defended the company's contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, saying it doesn't involve face recognition.

Meanwhile, last month, Amazon employees called on CEO Jeff Bezos to take a stand against the sale of its AI technology to law enforcement. Earlier in the month, after pressure from its employees, Google backed off from renewing its contract with the Pentagon to develop artificial intelligence for drone video analysis.

We look at how Silicon Valley workers have been waging protests over the use of their companies’ technology in controversial government contracts.

With files from the Associated Press.

With guest host Libby Denkmann.


Dina Bass, tech reporter for Bloomberg News, who has reported on Silicon Valley’s latest efforts to regulate AI technology; she tweets @dinabass