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Microsoft Quietly Deletes Largest Public Face-Recognition Dataset


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A facial recognition technology demonstration at an exhibition in Fujian province, China.

After the Financial Times reported Microsoft's MS Celeb database was being used by military scientists and Chinese firms to train facial recognition systems, the software giant removed the database from the Internet.

Credit: Reuters

Microsoft has deleted the MS Celeb dataset, which had been used since 2016 to train facial recognition systems worldwide, from the Internet.

The dataset contained 10 million facial images of nearly 100,000 individuals.

Its removal came days after the Financial Times (FT) reported it was being used by military scientists and Chinese firms.

Several of the Chinese companies supply equipment to officials in the Xinjiang region, where minorities of mostly Uighurs and other Muslims are being monitored and confined in internment camps.

The FT investigator also found Microsoft's dataset featured images of private individuals, including security journalists and critics of the company.

Also taken down following the FT report were Duke University's MTMC surveillance dataset, and Stanford University's Brainwash database.

From Financial Times
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