Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Microsoft Apologizes for “Separate but Equal” Photo-Editing Blunder

In the old days, when you wanted to make a photo more palatable for an Eastern European state, you just airbrushed it, and no one complained (out loud).

Now it’s easier than ever to alter an image. But it’s harder to get away with it.

Ask Microsoft, which just got caught digitally erasing a black man from a promotional photo and replacing him with a white guy. The original photo ran on a U.S. version of a Microsoft promotional site; the (clumsily) retouched version ended up on a Polish version.

CNET has before and after screenshots (click to enlarge):

U.S. Version

microsoft-us

Polish Version

microsoft-poland

Microsoft (MSFT) has since replaced the Polish photo with the original, and apologized last night.

[Image credit: CNET]


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik