Huawei’s role in developing surveillance products including ‘Uyghur alarm’ sparks international outcry

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This week’s revelation of Huawei’s role in testing artificial intelligence surveillance technology, which includes a face-scanning camera system that can send a “Uyghur alarm” to police after detecting a member of the group, sparked an international outcry against one of the world’s most valuable tech companies.

The Washington Post reported that despite the company’s claims that it is committed to human rights at the highest level, Huawei has worked with dozens of security contractors to develop surveillance products, some of which would be able to identify a person’s ethnicity and help remove the potential. protests, according to the company’s marketing materials.

The international backlash included French football star Antoine Griezmann, who publicly ended his work as a Huawei brand ambassador and urged the company to “condemn this mass crackdown.” Meanwhile, Huawei officials refuted the claims, saying the document describing the “Uyghur alarm” used “completely unacceptable” language.

“It is not compatible with Huawei’s values ​​… Our technologies are not designed to identify ethnic groups,” said a representative.

However, products made by Huawei along with four other partner companies were also advertised as having ethnicity tracking capabilities, according to Chinese-language marketing materials posted on a public Huawei website where the material could be downloaded by anyone. having registered an account. After The Washington Post approached Huawei for comment, the site briefly went offline, and the number of product collaborations detailed on the site dropped from more than 2,000 to 38 after its return. “We take the allegations in the Washington Post article very seriously and are investigating the issues raised therein,” a spokesperson for Huawei said in a statement to the Post.

Huawei and its partners have supplied some of the surveillance products to authorities in China’s Xinjiang region, where the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has detained thousands of Uyghur Muslims, in an attempt to control and assimilate the ethnic minority group by through an “educational campaign.

The surveillance products included a facial recognition system used by police in Xinjiang capital Urumqi and a road surveillance camera system for the area, according to documents from the Huawei website.

The company’s partnerships reflect the continued expansion of surveillance in China, where senior officials have called on police to use big data to fight crime, under the slogan “One person, one file,” a phrase meaning l ‘Using disparate information flows, from surveillance footage to Internet chat history, to better track individuals, The Washington Post reported.

Jerome Cohen, a veteran human rights legal expert in China, said racial profiling and discrimination are prevalent in China. The country’s government “engages in racial profiling on a large scale,” he said.

Marketing materials for products co-developed by Huawei with DeepGlint, Bresee, and Maiyuesoft also mention ethnic identification or search functions. The three companies did not respond to requests for comment. Classified documents known as China Cables, viewed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists last year, shed light on how the Chinese government is using technology to control Uyghur Muslims around the world.

However, China routinely denies such mistreatment and claims that the camps provide vocational training, while people in internment camps have described being subjected to forced political indoctrination, torture, beatings. and deprivation of food and medicine, and say they have been prohibited from practicing their religion or speaking their language.


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