By Jeffrey Dastin
(Reuters) - Microsoft Corp above Friday said it used to sell its stake can AnyVision, an Israeli facial recognition startup, and said it no longer used to compose minority investments can companies that sell the controversial technology.
The decision marks a policy vary during the Redmond, Washington-based software maker, which has aimed to figure how the technique industry approaches facial recognition. Microsoft has laid out principles to direct its own development of the technology, saying it to perform without prejudice and cause to no impinge above democratic freedoms.
Civil liberties groups eat said police use of facial recognition could direct to unfair, arbitrary arrests and boundary freedom of expression.
Microsoft came below scrutiny last summer during participating can a $74 million funding almost during AnyVision, which critics said contradicted the company's principles.
AnyVision, based external Tel Aviv, came below scrutiny following media reports that its technique was used to surveil Palestinians who lived can the occupied West Bank. Microsoft afterward hired previous U.S. lawyer mutual Eric Holder and a team from Covington & Burling to inspect the claims.
The constitution company build that AnyVision's technique was can use can checkpoints can boundary crossings among Israel and the West coast - during the startup had said - however that it had no fueled a mass surveillance program there, according to a xerox of the audit's findings posted above the website of M12, Microsoft's chance fund.
Even so, Microsoft said that during a arise of the probe it decided to exit the commerce of investing can facial recognition startups altogether.
"For Microsoft, the audit process reinforced the challenges of being a minority investor can a company that sells sensitive technology, during such investments perform no mostly permit during the flat of oversight or dispose of that Microsoft exercises can the use of its own technology," Microsoft and AnyVision said can a mutual statement posted above M12's website.
Microsoft did no eat a timeline to portion during while the divestment will happen and who will buy its stake, a spokesman said. It was no shortly transparent if other M12 investments were impacted by the policy change.
AnyVision did no shortly comment.
While Microsoft has turned down some facial recognition sales above human rights grounds, such during declining a business during the major city of a nation that nonprofit freedom dwelling said was no free, it continues to age the software during other commercial and public sector uses.
Microsoft said there was no vary to its inside task above facial recognition.
(Reporting by Jeffrey Dastin can San Francisco and Munsif Vengattil can Bengaluru; Editing by David Gregorio and Leslie Adler)