US President Donald Trump retweeted a call for barring Microsoft from federal government contracts after the software giant said it would not sell its facial recognition technology to US police departments.
The call to bar Microsoft from federal contracts was initially made by Trump’s former director of national intelligence Richard Grenell.
“They should now be barred from federal government contracts – there should be consequences for not selling technology to police departments,” Grenell tweeted while tagging the US President.
His tweet came after Microsoft President Brad Smith on Thursday said it would not sell facial recognition technology until the country brings in laws to regulate the controversial technology.
Smith made the decision public after rival Amazon on Wednesday announced to apply the brakes on its facial recognition technology called ‘Rekognition’ for police for one year, in the wake of potential misuse of the technology by the cops as racial protests gained steam in the US after the death of Afrrican-American George Floyd.
Earlier, technology giant IBM this week terminated its general purpose facial recognition and analysis software products.
Trump’s retweeting of the post calling for barring Microsoft from government contracts bears significance in view of the fact that the company beat Amazon to win a major $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud contract last year, beating its rival Amazon.
Amazon has alleged that it missed out on the contract due to Trump’s personal rivalry with the company founder Jeff Bezos.