Microsoft to delay launch of AI Recall tool due to security concerns

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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella speaks during the Microsoft Build conference at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Washington, on May 21, 2024.
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Microsoft will no longer ship Recall, an artificial intelligence tool that tracks user activity, when the company releases the Copilot+ PC next week, it announced in a blog post on Thursday following concerns about privacy and security.

The company wrote that Recall will shift from being a “broadly available” tool to a preview feature available only through the Windows Insiders Program, or WIP, when the new computer is released on June 18. Microsoft plans to make the AI feature available on all Copilot+ PCs soon after they receive feedback through WIP.

“This decision is rooted in our commitment to providing a trusted, secure and robust experience for all customers,” Windows Corporate Vice President Pavan Davuluri wrote in the blog post.

Microsoft first introduced the Copilot+ PC on May 20 as a computer designed to run advanced AI programs, including Recall. Recall is an AI tool that regularly takes screenshots to create a record of activity, allowing users to search for their previous actions.

Recall became a source of controversy soon after it was announced. Industry experts have expressed concern over the potential for hackers to develop tools that can retrieve user information, including usernames and passwords.

In response to the backlash, Microsoft initially announced that the Recall feature would be turned off by default, requiring users to opt in. The company also implemented additional security protections, including an encrypted search database and a requirement that Recall users enroll in Windows Hello, which has users prove their identity through a PIN, fingerprint or facial recognition.

Microsoft’s decision to delay Recall follows heightened concerns around security as the AI field evolves rapidly. Last month, a U.S. government review board criticized the company’s handling of China’s breach of U.S. government officials’ email accounts.

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