Huawei tested artificial intelligence software to recognize a Muslim group 

Huawei, in collaboration with Megvii, one of China's largest artificial intelligence (AI) companies, has tested a facial recognition system that could be used to detect members of a Muslim minority group and send alerts to the authorities.

The Uyghur ethnic minority is a Muslim group repressed, often targeted by the Chinese government, which lives mainly in the western region of Xinjiang.

A 2018 official document produced by the two Chinese companies shows that Huawei has tested the Megvii software on its video cloud infrastructure. The document was discovered by IPVM, an American research company specializing in video surveillance analysis.

IPVM shared its discovery with the Washington Post, which was the first outlet to report its content on Tuesday.

The test was carried out to see if Huawei hardware is compatible with Megvii's facial recognition software, according to the IPVM report. Huawei provided the hardware, such as cameras, servers, and cloud computing infrastructure, while Megvii provided the software. As part of the test, a function called "Uyghur alarm" was tested. Another feature of the software was used to determine 'ethnicity' as part of its 'facial attributes analysis'.

In 2018, a United Nations report expressed concern that more than a million people were held in "so-called centers against extremism and that another two million had been forced to surrender to" re-education camps. for political and cultural indoctrination 'in Xinjiang.

In June this year, the UN reiterated its concern about "the collective repression of the population, especially religious and ethnic minorities, in Xinjiang and Tibet."

Huawei and Megvii are two of China's most important technology pioneers, and Chinese authorities have seen them as leaders in a national campaign to reach the forefront of artificial intelligence development, according to the Washington Post. But these multi-billion dollar companies have also been hit hard by US officials, who say they pose a threat to American security or have contributed to China's brutal oppressive ethnic regime.

Eight Chinese companies, including Megvii, were sanctioned by the United States Department of Commerce last year for his involvement in "human rights violations and abuses in the implementation of the campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention and high-tech surveillance in China" against Uighurs and other Muslim minority groups.

The US government. has also taken sanctions against Huawei and allied companies, prohibiting the export of American technology to this company and pressuring other countries to exclude their systems from their telecommunications networks.

According to the report, Huawei and Megvii announced three surveillance systems using technology from the two companies in the past two years. The Washington Post could not immediately confirm whether the "Uyghur alarm" system tested in 2018 was one of three currently on sale.

IPVM says that a function like 'Uighur alarm' could be used to signal a member of the minority group to the authorities.

"Systems like Megvii are built into Huawei's system so that Megvii generates information and alarms and then sends them to Huawei's system so that controllers (eg police) can review and respond to them," he said. IPVM President John Honovich said in an email communication while explaining the potential functionality of the "Uyghur alarm" feature.

AI researchers fear that one day the software ethnicity detection can take off outside the borders of a surveillance state. The police and federal authorities of the United States have shown a growing interest in facial recognition software as an investigative tool, but these systems have generated a strong public reaction to its possible biases and inaccuracies, and some cities and police forces They have chosen to ban this technology entirely.

However, these technologies could find a market among international regimes, somewhere in the balance between Chinese and American influence.


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  1.   Cristina said

    "Indulge in" re-education camps "for political and cultural indoctrination" in Xinjiang. "

    Now it turns out that putting criminals in prisons that really serve to reintegrate them into society through the reeducation of their criminal behaviors and their contempt for society and others and learning an honest trade is "indoctrinating" ... Better our "democratic" prisons where thieves enter and leave turned into murderers, but listen to my friend, without "indoctrinating" and they are allowed to continue freely inside the jail with their shenanigans and their shenanigans ...

    "Participation in" human rights violations and abuses in the implementation of the campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention and high-tech surveillance in China "

    USA dixit, as it kills another 20 children in "humanitarian bombings" and 50 beggars die sick in LA and NY because the government denies them health care or killed by its police who shoot first and ask questions later. ???
    But the worrying thing is that China is worried, perhaps excessively, nobody is perfect, with the terrorists who are trying to infiltrate the country through Muslim communities. How bad are the Chinese, who do not want a 14-M or a Bataclán or abuses in Barcelona or Munich, etc, in their country ... Islamophobic and intolerant, that's what the Chinese authorities are for controlling the Muslim population ...

    Well, hopefully your system works and our governments buy it quickly to prevent Islamists from spreading around the world to kill innocents. Bravo for China! And that the USA gets its hypocrisy well for the ortho, that they cannot give moral lessons to anybody.