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Controversial Microsoft AI screenshot feature delayed over security concerns | Science & Tech News

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Microsoft won’t be releasing its controversial AI Recall feature with the rest of its updates next week.

The feature that takes screenshots of users’ laptops every few seconds was being investigated by the Information Commissioners’ Office over security concerns.

In a blogpost on Thursday, Microsoft said Recall won’t be “broadly available” from 18 June on Copilot+ PCs but instead, will be released to its testing group Windows Insider Programme “in the coming weeks”.

“This decision is rooted in our commitment to providing a trusted, secure and robust experience for all customers and to seek additional feedback,” said Pavan Davuluri, a vice president at Microsoft, in the post.

The delay comes after one cyber security expert told Sky News the feature was a “grab and go” target for criminals.

“With Recall [criminals] will essentially have everything in a single location,” said Muhammad Yahya Patel, lead security engineer at Check Point, a cyber security firm.

“It is a one-shot attack, like a grab and go,” said Mr Patel.

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Recall is designed to “help you easily find and remember things you’ve seen using natural language”, according to Microsoft, using artificial intelligence (AI) and “photographic memory”.

For example, if a user was shopping online and spotted a nice red lamp, days later they could search “red lamp” in Recall.

It would then pull up screenshots of the times they were looking at a red lamp, and link them to the websites they were on.

It would also search through pictures, documents, presentations and files and pull up anything relevant on their laptop.

It may even suggest actions the user would want to take in relation to their search.

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“As a [hacker], the first thing I’d do is go and look at all the screenshots of what you’ve been doing recently to understand your behaviour,” Charlie Milton, a vice president at cyber security firm Censornet, told Sky News.

Since concerns were raised about the feature, Microsoft has added extra security precautions.

One of them is a “just in time” decryption tool which means Recall snapshots will only be decrypted and accessible when the user authenticates themselves.

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On Thursday, Microsoft president Brad Smith was grilled in the US Congress over “a cascade of security failures” where both Russia and China were able to hack its systems.

Mr Smith told Congress the company will now tie executive bonuses to cyber security.

Security will also become part of every Microsoft employee’s performance review which is tied to pay, he said.

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