"This decision is rooted in our commitment to providing a trusted, secure and robust experience for all customers."

No-tal Recall

After announcing a new AI feature that records and screenshots everything you do, Microsoft is now delaying its launch after widespread objections.

The company broke the news in a blog post detailing its decision not to ship the feature, dubbed Recall, on new computers so that it can continue to "leverage the expertise" of its Windows Insider Program (WIP) beta-testing community.

"This decision is rooted in our commitment to providing a trusted, secure and robust experience for all customers," the statement reads, "and to seek additional feedback prior to making the feature available to all Copilot+ PC users."

What this statement doesn't include, as CNBC notes, is the outcry from industry experts and tech columnists who said the feature was a security "disaster" that's eerily reminiscent of a specific "Black Mirror" episode.

It also comes after concerned cybersecurity researchers released TotalRecall, a tool that extracts all the intimate screenshots from the unencrypted folder where they're stored on users' PCs.

Seemingly in response, Microsoft announced earlier this month that it would be encrypting Recall data and that users would have to opt into turning it on rather than it being engaged by default.

Congressional Cookout

In the backdrop of this decision hangs company vice chairman and president Brad Smith's testimony before Congress yesterday, which saw him grilled by regulators over the company's security practices in the wake of massive data breaches it was involved in in China. During that testimony, the executive insisted that moving forward, Microsoft will make security "more important even than the company’s work on artificial intelligence," Ars Technica reports.

Smith also said that CEO Satya Nadella "has taken on the responsibility personally to serve as the senior executive with overall accountability for Microsoft’s security," which essentially puts the company head even more in the hot seat for any issues moving forward.

With all this backtracking, it's worth noting that Microsoft has to date laid off more than 11,000 people since its pivot to AI in early 2023. For all the lip service being paid here, it remains to be seen whether this new security realignment will make any difference on either its aggressive adoption of AI or its bottom line.

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