Huawei worked on facial recognition system to surveil Uighurs, new report claims

Huawei labored on a facial recognition system to observe and monitor China’s Uighur minority, based on a new report from video surveillance researchers at IPVM.

First reported by The Washington Post, the report attracts on documents posted publicly to Huawei’s web site, obtained by way of Google search. The facial recognition undertaking seems to have been an illustration of how Huawei {hardware} could possibly be used to make use of associate algorithms from a Chinese language vendor known as Megvii.

IPVM’s report notably highlights the “Uighur Alert” function, which might use facial recognition to determine a topic’s ethnicity and generate an alert if the topic belonged to China’s Uighur minority group.

A Muslim minority group from northwestern China, Uighurs are topic to intense political repression by the Chinese language authorities, making efforts to determine and monitor them notably harmful. Since 2017, at least 1 million Uighurs have been relocated to a community of detention camps within the Xinjiang province, the place they’re forced to submit to indoctrination programs. China has traditionally denied the existence of the camps, though satellite imagery confirms their existence.

A New York Times report in 2019 recognized numerous Chinese language facial recognition firms constructing algorithms to determine Uighurs, a few of which have faced US sanctions within the months for the reason that report. However whereas Megvii had beforehand been linked to Uighur recognition methods, that is the primary indication that Huawei could also be actively growing and selling such a product.

Huawei didn’t reply for a request for remark.

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