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Microsoft Scraps 10 Million Facial Recognition Photos On The Low

Microsoft Scraps 10 Million Facial Recognition Photos On The Low

By CultureBanx Team

  • Microsoft deletes MS Celeb database with more than 10M images

  • Facial recognition technology could lead to incidents of racial profiling

As an outspoken proponent to properly regulate facial recognition technology, Microsoft (MSFT +0.28%) has quietly deleted its MS Celeb database, which contains more than 10 million images. The images compiled included journalists, artists, musicians, activists, policy makers, writers and researchers. Microsoft is finally putting an end to its role in the potential for abuse that facial recognition technology has, which could lead to incidents of racial profiling.

Microsoft Facial Recognition.jpg

Why This Matters: Released in 2016, the database was built of online images with 100,000 well-known people. Microsoft explained the data set's deletion to the Financial Times as a simple matter of internal company protocol, "the site was intended for academic purposes," it said. "It was run by an employee that is no longer with Microsoft."

The deletion comes after Microsoft called on U.S. politicians to do a better job of regulating recognition systems last year. Additionally, they have asked governments around the world to regulate the use of facial recognition technology. The software giant want to ensure the technology which has higher error rates for African Americans, does not invade personal privacy or become a tool for discrimination or surveillance.

The deletion comes after Microsoft called on U.S. politicians to do a better job of regulating recognition systems last year

The company has even blocked sales of its facial recognition tech to California police forces who wanted to use it in body cameras and cars. Not to mention research shows commercial artificial intelligence systems tend to have higher error rates for women and black people. Some facial recognition systems would only confuse light-skin men 0.8% of the time and would have an error rate of 34.7% for dark-skin women.

Situational Awareness: Some researchers argue that even though MS Celeb has been deleted, you can still find its contents being shared online. Essentially, meaning once it appears on the internet and people download the information, it never goes away.

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