Face recognition can be very helpful in some contexts, for example, to log on to mobile phones without specifying the passcode. But technology can also be abused by states that want to keep track of their citizens.
According to Cnet, Microsoft has chosen to remove MS Celeb, a database on Github that contained more than ten million images of hundreds of thousands of people. The images were collected in 2016 and have been used to test different variations of face recognition technology.
After reports that China used MS Celeb to keep track of Uighurs and other minorities, Microsoft was forced to pick up the database.
– The site was intended for academic purposes. It was managed by an employee who is no longer left at Microsoft, the company replies in a statement.
If you want to know more about how China uses facial recognition to keep track of the figures, we can recommend a report from the New York Times.