Microsoft’s well-known Recall AI feature has been delayed

Microsoft plans to launch its new Copilot Plus PCs next week without the controversial Recall feature that films everything you do on these new laptops. The software maker is shutting down Recall so it can be tested with the Windows Insider Program, after originally promising to ship Recall as an optional feature with additional security improvements.

“We are adjusting the release model for Recall to leverage the expertise of the Windows Insider community to ensure the experience meets our high standards for quality and security,” Microsoft says in a statement. Updated blog post. “When the recall (preview) becomes available in the Windows Insider Program, we will publish a blog post with details on how to get the preview.”

This means that Recall will not initially be available to Windows Insiders or anyone who buys a Copilot Plus PC. I wrote in Notepad earlier today that Windows engineers were scrambling to test and implement security improvements in time for the June 18 launch date of the Copilot Plus PCs. Now, Microsoft is essentially admitting here that it needs more time to test Recall’s security improvements.

Windows recall feature.
Jeff: Microsoft

Microsoft first unveiled the Recall feature as part of its upcoming Copilot Plus PCs last month, but since then, privacy advocates and security experts have warned that Recall could be a cybersecurity “disaster” without changes. Microsoft committed to three major updates to Recall last week, including making the AI-powered feature a subscription experience instead of turning it on by default, database encryption, and authentication through Windows Hello.

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Recall uses the native AI models built into Windows 11 to take a screenshot of everything you see or do on your PC and then gives you the ability to search for and retrieve items you’ve seen. The explorable timeline lets you scroll through these snapshots to take a look at what you did on a particular day on your computer. Everything in Recall is designed to stay local and private on the device, so no data is used to train Microsoft’s AI models.

Microsoft’s decision to delay the recall comes directly after Vice President and President Brad Smith to attest Before the House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee today. Smith said Microsoft puts security above all else, as part of the Secure Future Initiative (SFI). “It’s even more important than the company’s work in AI,” Smith says.

Smith also revealed that Microsoft will make security a mandatory part of its semi-annual review process for all employees. “With this change, cybersecurity will be factored into each employee’s annual bonus and compensation,” Smith said.

I mentioned earlier today in The Notebook that Recall was originally created before Microsoft’s big SFI fix began. Recall was secretly developed at Microsoft, and has not even been publicly tested with Windows Insiders. Microsoft then identified some security issues with Recall and began developing and testing changes to the experience in recent months. It now clearly needs more time to ensure that these changes deliver on their promise to put security above AI and everything else.

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