Microsoft has become the latest tech firm to bar the use of its facial recognition technology by police.
At a Washington Post Live event on Thursday, Microsoft President Brad Smith announced that the company would not sell its facial recognition software to police departments until there is a national law to regulate the use of the controversial technology.
"The bottom line for us is to protect the human rights of people as this technology is deployed," Smith said.
He added that Microsoft also plans to bring in some "review factors" that would help to determine the use of the technology beyond law enforcement.
In the past, the company has announced its support for a new law in California that would allow police use of facial recognition technology with some restrictions.
Microsoft's decision follows similar moves by IBM and Amazon earlier this week. On Tuesday, IBM announced that it is quitting the facial recognition software market over concerns that the technology could be used to promote racial injustice and discrimination.
A day later, Amazon also said that it was pausing police use of Rekognition, the company's facial recognition software, for one year, although Amazon's announcement was light on details.
The company did not provide any information on what is happening with its existing affiliations with police departments, which it has strongly defended as fair and responsible in the past.
The move from big tech firms comes at the time when killing of George Floyd, a black man, in police custody in Minneapolis last month has prompted worldwide protests against racial injustice.
Several lawmakers in the US have called on the government to introduce reforms to address police brutality and racial injustice. Civil liberty groups are concerned that facial recognition technology could be used unfairly against protesters.
The American Civil Liberties Union has been campaigning to ban the use of the technology for several years, warning that it could be used for extensive "suspicionless" surveillance.
Last year, a study by the researchers at MIT Media Lab and University of Toronto showed that facial recognition system often give incorrect results and can mistake dark-skinned females for dark-skinned males.
The US Congress has been considering the regulation of facial recognition systems for some time.
Earlier this year, London's Met Police started deploying facial recognition systems in different parts of the city - a move that was not very well received by human rights groups.
The system deployed at Oxford Circus in London even led to the wrongful apprehension of seven innocent members of the public who were incorrectly identified by the system.
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