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Risk & Repeat: Microsoft under fire again over Recall

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Microsoft made changes to its AI-driven Recall feature, but that didn't stop Congress from grilling company president Brad Smith during a House committee hearing.

Microsoft is under fire again after the tech giant delayed its controversial AI-powered Recall feature and company president Brad Smith testified before Congress.

Last month, Microsoft announced Recall, a headlining feature of its upcoming CoPilot+ PCs for Windows that uses AI technology to take snapshots of a user's work at five-second intervals. Although Microsoft said the tool -- which is intended to help users view previously seen content -- only stores data locally, it has been widely criticized as a potential data security and privacy risk.

Microsoft responded to criticisms with a recent update that changed Recall to an opt-in feature, as opposed to originally being enabled by default, and required user authentication to access Recall snapshots. Furthermore, while Recall was originally intended to launch in preview Tuesday, the entire feature has been delayed indefinitely.

The tech giant announced this delay last Thursday, the same day Microsoft President Brad Smith testified at a House Committee on Homeland Security hearing titled "A Cascade of Security Failures: Assessing Microsoft Corporation's Cybersecurity Shortfalls and the Implications for Homeland Security." Smith fielded questions from U.S. representatives about the Chinese nation-state attack Microsoft suffered last year, among other incidents, as well as security concerns about Recall.

Although Smith testified that Microsoft took full responsibility for the breaches, he also deflected questions about a recent ProPublica whistleblower report. In addition, he said Microsoft has the time "to do [Recall] right" from a security perspective, even though the feature was not yet delayed at the time of testimony and was mere days away from launch.

On this episode of the Risk & Repeat podcast, TechTarget editors Rob Wright, Alex Culafi and Arielle Waldman discuss recent Microsoft security news and what it says about the company's current state.

Subscribe to Risk & Repeat on Apple Podcasts.

Alexander Culafi is a senior information security news writer and podcast host for TechTarget Editorial.

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