Microsoft Delays Launch of Its Comprehensive Recall AI Feature

Microsoft’s upcoming launch of Copilot Plus PCs will proceed without the controversial Recall feature, which captures screenshots of user activities on these laptops. The decision to withhold Recall is aimed at conducting further testing within the Windows Insider program, diverging from its initial plan to introduce it as an opt-in feature with enhanced security protocols.

In an updated blog post, Microsoft explained, “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.” The company plans to provide details on accessing Recall (preview) once available in the Windows Insider Program.

Consequently, Recall will not be accessible initially to either Windows Insiders or customers purchasing Copilot Plus PCs. Earlier reports indicated that Microsoft engineers were racing to implement crucial security improvements ahead of the launch date. This delay underscores Microsoft’s commitment to thoroughly testing Recall’s security enhancements before its broader release.

Originally unveiled alongside Copilot Plus PCs last month, Recall has faced scrutiny from privacy advocates and cybersecurity experts concerned about potential vulnerabilities. Microsoft responded by committing to significant updates, including making Recall an opt-in feature, encrypting its database, and integrating authentication through Windows Hello.

Utilizing local AI models within Windows 11, Recall captures and allows retrieval of screenshots depicting user activities, organized chronologically for review. All data remains stored locally to maintain privacy, with no data utilized for training Microsoft’s AI models.

This decision comes on the heels of Microsoft Vice Chair and President Brad Smith’s testimony before the House Homeland Security Committee, emphasizing the company’s prioritization of security under its Secure Future Initiative (SFI). Smith underscored that cybersecurity considerations will now impact employee bonuses and compensation, reflecting Microsoft’s intensified focus on security across all operations.

Recall was originally developed discreetly at Microsoft prior to the SFI overhaul and had not undergone public testing with Windows Insiders until recent months. Microsoft’s acknowledgment of necessary refinements highlights its commitment to ensuring that Recall aligns with rigorous security standards, affirming its dedication to prioritizing security over other technological advancements.