Microsoft postpones ‘Recall’, its controversial AI feature that recorded everything you do

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Microsoft will delay “Recall”, a controversial AI feature that recorded everything people do on their computers.

The company had announced the tool alongside its new “Copilot Plus PCs”, and said that it was a useful way of allowing those computers to understand what their owners had done. That would help artificial intelligence offer new tools, it said, since it would have the ability to bring up anything that had been seen on the computer.

It would give computers a “photographic memory”, Microsoft said during its release. That would be a step towards an AI that would “instantly see us, hear, reason about our intent and our surroundings”.

Instead, however, it only led to outrage about the privacy and security implications of those recordings. They would represent an invasive and dangerous set of information for anyone who managed to get hold of them, critics argued.

That led Microsoft to announce that it would ship the feature, which had originally been turned on automatically, as opt-in. It also said that it would add new security protections.

Now it says that it will delay its release. When it does launch, it will do so as a “preview” as part of the Microsoft Insider Program, which allows keen users to sign up to receive features early.

“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 said. “This decision is rooted in our commitment to providing a trusted, secure and robust experience for all customers and to seek additional feedback prior to making the feature available to all Copilot+ PC users.”

The preview will launch “in the coming weeks”, it said. Microsoft will then make it available for all of its new AI focused PCs, but it gave no indication of how long that might take.