Microsoft bans US police departments from using enterprise AI tool for facial recognition

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Microsoft has modified its coverage to ban U.S. police departments from utilizing generative AI for facial recognition by means of the Azure OpenAI Service, the corporate’s absolutely managed, enterprise-focused wrapper round OpenAI applied sciences.

Language added Wednesday to the phrases of service for Azure OpenAI Service prohibits integrations with Azure OpenAI Service from getting used “by or for” police departments for facial recognition within the U.S., together with integrations with OpenAI’s text- and speech-analyzing fashions.

A separate new bullet level covers “any legislation enforcement globally,” and explicitly bars using “real-time facial recognition know-how” on cell cameras, like physique cameras and dashcams, to aim to determine an individual in “uncontrolled, in-the-wild” environments.

The adjustments in phrases come per week after Axon, a maker of tech and weapons merchandise for navy and legislation enforcement, introduced a brand new product that leverages OpenAI’s GPT-4 generative textual content mannequin to summarize audio from physique cameras. Critics have been fast to level out the potential pitfalls, like hallucinations (even the very best generative AI fashions at present invent information) and racial biases launched from the coaching knowledge (which is very regarding given that folks of colour are much more prone to be stopped by police than their white friends).

It’s unclear whether or not Axon was utilizing GPT-4 through Azure OpenAI Service, and, if that’s the case, whether or not the up to date coverage was in response to Axon’s product launch. OpenAI had beforehand restricted using its fashions for facial recognition by means of its APIs. We’ve reached out to Axon, Microsoft and OpenAI and can replace this publish if we hear again.

The brand new phrases depart wiggle room for Microsoft.

The entire ban on Azure OpenAI Service utilization pertains solely to U.S., not worldwide, police. And it doesn’t cowl facial recognition carried out with stationary cameras in managed environments, like a again workplace (though the phrases prohibit any use of facial recognition by U.S. police).

That tracks with Microsoft’s and shut accomplice OpenAI’s current strategy to AI-related legislation enforcement and protection contracts.

In January, reporting by Bloomberg revealed that OpenAI is working with the Pentagon on quite a few initiatives together with cybersecurity capabilities — a departure from the startup’s earlier ban on offering its AI to militaries. Elsewhere, Microsoft has pitched utilizing OpenAI’s picture technology software, DALL-E, to assist the Division of Protection (DoD) construct software program to execute navy operations, per The Intercept.

Azure OpenAI Service turned accessible in Microsoft’s Azure Authorities product in February, including further compliance and administration options geared towards authorities businesses together with legislation enforcement. In a weblog publish, Candice Ling, SVP of Microsoft’s government-focused division Microsoft Federal, pledged that Azure OpenAI Service could be “submitted for added authorization” to the DoD for workloads supporting DoD missions.

Replace: After publication, Microsoft mentioned its authentic change to the phrases of service contained an error, and actually the ban applies solely to facial recognition within the U.S. It’s not a blanket ban on police departments utilizing the service. 


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