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Microsoft Delays Release of Controversial AI Recall Feature Due to Security Concerns

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A Microsoft event showcasing the company's AI assistant, Copilot.
A Microsoft event showcasing the company's AI assistant, Copilot. Source: SkyNews

Microsoft will delay the release of its controversial AI Recall feature, initially set to launch next week, due to ongoing security investigations by the Information Commissioners’ Office (ICO), according to SkyNews.

The ‘Recall’ feature, which takes screenshots of users’ laptops every few seconds, will not be included in the Copilot+ updates scheduled for June 18.

Instead, it will be available to the Windows Insider Programme for testing “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, stated Pavan Davuluri, a vice president at Microsoft, in a blog post on Thursday.

The postponement follows warnings from cybersecurity experts, who described the feature as a potential target for criminals.

Muhammad Yahya Patel, lead security engineer at Check Point, likened it to a “grab and go” attack, where criminals could access a wealth of information from a single location.

Recall is designed to help users find and remember things they’ve seen using natural language and AI with a “photographic memory.”

For instance, users could search for a “red lamp” they viewed online, and Recall would provide screenshots and links to relevant websites. The feature also scans through pictures, documents, presentations, and files to retrieve pertinent information and might suggest related actions based on the search.

Cybersecurity expert Charlie Milton from Censornet expressed concerns about the potential misuse of the feature, highlighting how hackers could exploit screenshots to understand users’ behaviours.

In response to the security concerns, Microsoft has introduced additional precautions, including a “just in time” decryption tool, ensuring Recall snapshots are only decrypted and accessible when users authenticate themselves.

The ICO confirmed to Sky News on Friday that their investigation into the Recall feature is still ongoing.

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