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Huawei tested facial recognition that ID'd Uighur Muslims, set off alarm: report

Huawei tested facial recognition that ID’d Uighur Muslims, set off alarm: report

The Chinese tech giant Huawei and artificial intelligence commerce Megvii developed and tested facial recognition software that triggered alerts whenever the technology detected Uighur Muslims, according to an internal document obtained by researcher IPVM and devoted to The Washington Post.

The document dates back to January 2018, when Huawei tested Megvii’s Face++ facial recognition on its network of cameras and gave a passing grade to its sequence to recognize people’s age, gender and ethnicity. The test picture also highlighted a passing grade for a “Uyghur Alarm” — an alert planned specifically to identify members of the oppressed minority population in China. 

The Chinese government has used surveillance technology comprising facial recognition in a myriad of ways to oppress Uighur Muslims. The government’s actions against Uighur Muslims include what’s been labelled by US lawmakers as “the largest mass incarceration of a minority population in the domain today,” with an estimated 1 million people detained by the Chinese government. 

Chinese tech anxieties are helping with this: facial recognition, surveillance cameras and negate recognition are all being used to track and identify Uighur Muslims in the farmland. In Oct. 2019, the US Commerce Department blacklisted eight Chinese anxieties for contributing to human rights abuses against the minority population.  

While you might recognize Huawei as the second-largest requested maker in the world, the company is also China’s biggest tech commerce and supplies surveillance cameras both across the country and internationally.  

Megvii is among the eight blacklisted Chinese anxieties, and one of the largest facial recognition providers in the domain. Its technology is used across China in connection with daily behaviors like getting on trains and entering offices.

The document detailing Huawei and Megvii’s demonstrations was labeled as confidential, but IPVM discovered it publicly available on Huawei’s European website. It’s since been removed, after the Post reported on the discovery. 

“This picture is simply a test and it has not seen real-world application. Huawei only supplies general-purpose products for this kind of testing. We do not provide custom algorithms or applications,” Huawei said in a statement.

The Chinese tech giant didn’t express why it would need to test a technology planned to target an oppressed minority group. 

Megvii didn’t reply to a request for comment but told IPVM that its technology is “not planned or customized to target or label ethnic groups,” despite the test with Huawei challenging just that. 

Huawei and Megvii aren’t the only Chinese tech anxieties that’ve offered facial recognition capabilities to identify and track Uighur Muslims. Hikvision, the world’s largest surveillance camera provider, also marketed its storganizations to identify the population, according to a Nov. 2019 picture by IPVM. 

The Chinese government has also used malware and requested hacking to target Uighur Muslims. In March, a business of 17 US senators called out China for amdroll facial recognition technologies as “instruments of state power.” 

Facial recognition tech raises privacy affairs because of its ability to track and identify republic on a mass scale. Police in the US have used it to track and identify protesters, despite the United Nations’ human rights chief calling for a moratorium alongside the practice.