Amid increasing scrutiny around the government's use of artificial intelligence software, Microsoft said on Friday that it wants to see more regulation, specifically regarding technology that recognizes faces.
"If there are concerns about how a technology will be deployed more broadly across society, the only way to regulate this broad use is for the government to do so," Brad Smith, Microsoft's president and chief legal officer, wrote in a blog post. "This in fact is what we believe is needed today – a government initiative to regulate the proper use of facial recognition technology, informed first by a bipartisan and expert commission."
Microsoft, Amazon and Google are among the big tech companies investing heavily in AI, and each have faced pushback, including from employees, as reports detailed their work with government institutions. With Microsoft, there was concern that the company was supplying face recognition software to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement as it separated families at the border. But Microsoft has since clarified that it's technology is being used only for more generic computing tasks, like email and calendar systems.
Smith indicated in his post that Microsoft is well aware of the flare-up over its collaboration with ICE, and acknowledged that some people wanted Microsoft to stop working with the agency. He didn't announce any change of plans.