Microsoft’s New AI Recall Feature Could Already Be in Legal Trouble

Microsoft’s New AI Recall Feature Could Already Be in Legal Trouble

Microsoft’s full-throttle push into artificial intelligence technology is getting more scrutiny by regulators worried that the conglomerate is invading consumers’ privacy.

The Redmond, Washington-based tech giant was busy this week at Microsoft Build, its annual developer conference, where it announced a new line of laptops equipped with AI hardware and support for AI applications. One new feature in particular stole the show — but not in the way Microsoft had likely hoped.

The feature, called Recall, uses AI to build a “photographic memory” of a user’s laptop activity that they can then search. In other words, Recall constantly takes screenshots of a user’s activity on the computer, whether they’re searching for new recipes online, watching videos, or using apps.

“We can recreate moments from the past essentially,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella told the Wall Street Journal.

Microsoft’s announcement of the feature was met with instant backlash from privacy advocates and consumers, including Tesla CEO and xAI founder Elon Musk. The tech giant also has to worry about the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), a U.K. data watchdog, which told the BBC it was reaching out to Microsoft for more information on Recall.

A spokesperson for the ICO told the BBC that companies must “rigorously assess and mitigate risks to peoples’ rights and freedoms” before launching new products, especially those that are potentially invasive.

Microsoft says that Recall snapshots are stored locally on the PCs, encrypted, and can only be accessed by the person whose profile was used to sign into the computer. Users will also be able to filter out specific apps or websites from being scanned, pause snapshot collection, and delete some or all snapshots stored on their device.

“We know that privacy is important,” Microsoft said in a blog post Monday. “Copilot+ PCs are also designed so that even the AI running on your device can’t access your private content. In addition, IT admins can use Microsoft Intune to disable Recall from saving any snapshots, and new policies are coming later to enable IT to centrally filter specific apps and websites.”

Image: Microsoft

The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans

It’s the most popular NBN speed in Australia for a reason. Here are the cheapest plans available.

At Gizmodo, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.