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Microsoft funded an Israeli facial recognition startup whose tech is reportedly being used to secretly surveil Palestinians

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James Desmond
Oct 28, 2019 17:01
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Microsoft reportedly funded an Israeli startup that makes facial recognition used to secretly monitor Palestinians living in the West Bank.

The firm also reportedly tested out experimental facial recognition functions on Palestinians, marketing the results to other clients across the globe.

As public scrutiny builds over facial-recognition technology and its impact on privacy and civil liberties, Microsoft has positioned itself as a moral leader, publishing six guiding principles on facial recognition and pledging never to use the tech in a way that threatens "people's democratic freedoms."

But Microsoft's investments in a controversial Israeli facial recognition startup is raising questions about its commitment to those principles.

The investment drew immediate backlash from human rights advocates including the ACLU, Forbes reported.

Since then, investigations by NBC News and Haaretz have shined more light on AnyVision's operations, describing how the firm's software is being used by the Israeli military to secretly conduct mass surveillance of West Bank Palestinians.

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James Desmond
Oct 28, 2019 17:01
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