Microsoft pulls out of facial recognition startup AnyVision
And the tech giant says it won't make any other minority investments in companies selling facial-recognition tech.
Joan E. SolsmanFormer Senior Reporter
Joan E. Solsman was CNET's senior media reporter, covering the intersection of entertainment and technology. She's reported from locations spanning from Disneyland to Serbian refugee camps, and she previously wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. She bikes to get almost everywhere and has been doored only once.
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Three Folio Eddie award wins: 2018 science & technology writing (Cartoon bunnies are hacking your brain), 2021 analysis (Deepfakes' election threat isn't what you'd think) and 2022 culture article (Apple's CODA Takes You Into an Inner World of Sign)
has pulled its minority investment out of a
startup that made headlines last year for allegedly surveilling Palestinians, the tech giant said Friday. Microsoft also said it would halt any minority investments in companies selling facial-recognition technology.
A Microsoft-funded investigation led by former US Attorney General Eric Holder determined that AnyVision's technology doesn't power mass surveillance in the West Bank. Nevertheless, Microsoft said it's divested itself of the AnyVision holding and won't be a minority stakeholder in any other facial recognition firms because it can't adequately oversee the companies that way.
Being a minority investor in a company that sells sensitive technology generally doesn't offer "the level of oversight or control that Microsoft exercises over the use of its own technology," the company said in a statement posted to Microsoft's website for M12, the company's venture investment fund.