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Azure Cognitive Services

Last updated: December 2019

The Cognitive Services are a collection of intelligent services that allow systems to see, hear, speak, understand, and interpret people’s needs by using natural methods of communication. With Cognitive Services, developers can easily add intelligent features—such as emotion and sentiment detection, vision and speech recognition, knowledge, search, and language understanding—into their applications.


Microsoft understands that our customers need to comply with their national, regional, and industry-specific requirements. We have made significant progress on security certifications for Cognitive Services, and we continue to invest in this area.


Microsoft is governed by strict standards regarding the privacy and protection of customer data. We take strong measures to protect your data from unauthorized persons or improper access.

Cognitive Services are Azure services, and use is governed by the agreement under which you obtain the services. The Online Services Terms include the GDPR Terms, list the Microsoft Azure Core Services, and detail service-specific terms.

For GDPR purposes, Microsoft is a data processor for the following Cognitive Services, which align to privacy commitments for other Azure services:

  • Computer Vision
  • Content Moderator
  • Custom Vision
  • Face API
  • Form Recognizer
  • Language Understanding
  • Speech Services
  • Text Analytics
  • Translator
  • Personalizer
  • QnA Maker
  • Video Indexer

The services listed above give you control over the storage and deletion of any customer data that they store as part of providing the services to you. For services that do not store customer data, the customer data is automatically deleted after processing. Details of how to manage your customer data, such as your training data for Language Understanding, are in the product documentation where applicable.

For GDPR purposes, Microsoft is an independent data controller for the following Cognitive Services (the Bing Search Services):

  • Bing Autosuggest
  • Bing Custom Search
  • Bing Entity Search
  • Bing Search
  • Bing Spell Check

Bing Search Services data is treated differently than other customer data. Microsoft may use Bing Search Services data to improve Microsoft products and services. For example, Microsoft uses search queries that you provide to Bing Search Services to improve its underlying algorithms and models over time. To do that, Microsoft may retain Bing Search Services data after you are no longer using the services. For more details about the Bing Search Services, please refer to the applicable service-specific terms in the Online Services Terms.


Microsoft provides transparency about its practices, including sharing where your data is stored. The Azure datacenter map offers the latest information about where Cognitive Services customer data is stored at rest. For services that do not store customer data, the customer data is automatically deleted after processing.