Nov 15, 2019 - Technology

Microsoft hires Eric Holder to audit facial recognition firm

Eric Holder

Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

Microsoft hired former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to audit AnyVision, a facial recognition company it has invested in, to determine whether the Israeli tech company adheres to Microsoft's ethical principles, NBC News reports.

Why it matters: AnyVision's "advanced tactical surveillance" software powered a project that covertly monitored Palestinians in the West Bank, for which the company won an Israeli defense prize in 2018, per NBC. Human rights activists have rallied against the company for that project.

What they're saying: "AnyVision's facial recognition technology is not being used for surveillance in the West Bank or the Gaza Strip, and AnyVision would not allow its technology to be used for that purpose," the company told NBC News in October.

What's next: Holder, who worked from 2009 to 2015 under President Obama, will head up a team of former federal prosecutors to investigate how AnyVision's technology is being used.

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