Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai’s decision to back the EU’s proposal to ban the use of face recognition in public spaces for five years drew praise from rights activists.

“I think it is important that governments and regulations tackle it sooner rather than later and give a framework for it,” Reuters cited Pichai as saying at Bruegel think tank conference in Belgium. Google had already pledged that it would not sell facial recognition surveillance products without first addressing the drawbacks and potential abuse of the technology.

At the same conference, Microsoft President Brad Smith cautioned against nixing a technology that could be useful to do good, such as reunite missing children with their families. “The second thing I would say is you don’t ban it if you actually believe there is a reasonable alternative that will enable us to, say, address this problem with a scalpel instead of a meat cleaver,” Smith said.

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