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Microsoft President Warns Of “1984” Facial Recognition Future

"The world is on the threshold of technology that would give a government the ability to follow anyone anywhere."

Dan RobitzskiNovember 8th 2018

People Watching

Brad Smith, the President of Microsoft, issued a public warning about the terrifying ways facial recognition technology could be used to exploit and abuse all of us.

Speaking at Web Summit in Portugal on Wednesday, Smith cautioned that with facial recognition software, governments would be able to monitor everyone at all times, Recode reported.

“For the first time, the world is on the threshold of technology that would give a government the ability to follow anyone anywhere, and everyone everywhere. It could know exactly where you are going, where you have been and where you were yesterday as well. And this has profound potential ramifications for even just the fundamental civil liberties on which democratic societies rely. Before we wake up and find that the year 2024 looks like the book ‘1984,’ let’s figure out what kind of world we want to create, and what are the safeguards and what are the limitations of both companies and governments for the use of this technology.”

Lend a Hand?

Smith has been vocal about the same issue in the past, repeatedly calling for America’s leaders to regulate and limit facial recognition software. Of course, asking for vague regulations from lawmakers that Smith knows almost never agree on matters of technology, surveillance, or privacy, might not be the most surefire strategy.

Nobody asked us, but maybe a better approach might be to stop creating and selling facial recognition systems at Microsoft.

Lead the Way

Many of the giant tech corporations, including Amazon and Google, have been under fire lately for controversial defense and government contracts.

If Smith really wants to be an ethical tech leader, it would be a simple matter to end facial recognition at his own company and focus on more ethical contracts in the future.

READ MORE: Microsoft’s president says we need to regulate facial recognition tech before ‘the year 2024 looks like the book “1984”’ [Recode]

More on facial recognition: Report: Amazon Tried to Sell Facial Recognition Tech to ICE

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