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Microsoft Pulls Out of its Deal with the Facial Recognition Venture AnyVision

Microsoft Pulls Out of its Deal with the Facial Recognition Venture AnyVision
Image Credit – Verdict.co.uk

Microsoft has announced that it is pulling out of its minority stake in the facial recognition venture that had made headlines in 2019 for alleged surveillance of the Palestinians. The tech giant further added that it would stop all minority investments in the companies that deal with facial recognition technology.

Microsoft had funded an investigation that was led by Eric Holder, the former US Attorney General, to determine whether the allegations laid against AnyVision were true or not. The reports said that AnyVision is not using its technology for powering mass surveillance activities in the West Bank. Regardless of that, Microsoft has declared that it has divested itself of any holdings in AnyVision, and will not be a part of any firm working with facial recognition technology because it cannot properly oversee these firms that way.

The tech giant recently clarified its stand in the site for M12, the venture investment of the company. It declared that being a minority stakeholder in the companies that deal with sensitive technology usually does not allow the level of control or oversight that Microsoft has over the usage of its own tech. 

Eric Holder was hired by Microsoft in 2019 to gather information about whether AnyVision was going against the ethics of Microsoft. NBC News published a report in October last year that the facial recognition tech made by AnyVision was being used in secret military efforts for conducting the surveillance on the Palestinians staying in the West Bank. AnyVision claimed the report to be false.

The verdicts of the investigation carried out by Holder was revealed by Microsoft on Friday. The report claimed that the evidence that has come to light shows that AnyVision tech does not presently and has not formerly been used for powering mass surveillance activities in the West Bank.

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