By Maria Armental 

Microsoft Corp. has decided to no longer hold minority interests in companies that sell facial-recognition technology, a policy change that follows a controversial investment in Israeli startup AnyVision.

On Friday, Microsoft said it would sell its minority stake in AnyVision in implementing a new investment policy for companies that sell facial-recognition technology, since minority stakes don't "generally allow for the level of oversight or control that Microsoft exercises over the use of its own technology."

AnyVision had been accused of surveilling Palestinians in the West Bank.

A Microsoft-funded audit, led by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder at Covington & Burling, found AnyVision's technology is being used at the border between the West Bank and Israel but not for mass-surveillance.

Microsoft made its investment in AnyVision last June.

"Microsoft's focus has shifted to commercial relationships that afford Microsoft greater oversight and control over the use of sensitive technologies," the company said Friday.

Write to Maria Armental at maria.armental@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

March 27, 2020 20:03 ET (00:03 GMT)

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