NSW State Archives dodges Microsoft for terms and conditions

State Archives and Records NSW have decided against using Microsoft cognitive services for its piloting of machine learning technology.

Plans to run large levels of data through the Microsoft Azure cognitive software has been dismissed after two red flags were raised during an internal risk assessment.

A condition listed by Microsoft’s cloud cognitive service assures that data, including images, audio, video files, and text “may be retained by Microsoft indefinitely to improve Microsoft products and services, without a means for you to access or delete that retained data”.

The clause forced the government body to reconsider its choice of cognitive software technology.

State Archives and Records NSW is a statutory body providing and managing the public access to New South Wales archives collection.

The authority stated late last year that it would be “seeking partnerships for an agency pilot and will also run an internal pilot using in-house data”.

“The results of [our pilots] will be shared as case studies and will inform further work, including potentially changes to our own processes and instruments,” State Archives and Records NSW said.

State Archives and Records NSW is in process of identifying and selecting an agency to pair with on the machine learning project.