CCTVs with “Dahua technology” are able to identify faces of Uyghurs and Tibetans

CCTV cameras are almost everywhere in Hong Kong and mainland China. Mainland Chinese company Zhejiang Dahua Technology Co. Ltd. was recently found by the Internet Protocol Video Market (IPVM), a US video surveillance research organization, that four types of its surveillance cameras are capable of race, color, and Uyghur or Tibetan identify faces. “Dahua Technology” rejected the accusation and claimed that it never develops products that identify ethnic groups.

Zhejiang Dahua Technology Co.Ltd. has long been accused of helping the CCP establish a surveillance network to persecute Uyghurs in the Xinjiang region. In October 2019, it was placed on the sanctions list by the US Department of Commerce. The US government has criticized “Dahua Technology” for its repression of Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other members of the Muslim minority in Xinjiang, including mass arbitrary arrests and the use of high-tech surveillance over alleged human rights violations and abuses.

On October 17, 2022, IPVM published an article claiming four “Dahua Technology” security cameras including “DH-IPC-HF8249F-FD”, “DH-IPC-MFW8449-ZHM-D47-LI-0832″, DH -CP835 -AU1F-LZF2070” and “DH-SDT-5A404-C2F” are all capable of identifying gender, age, race, skin color, facial expression, Uyghur or Tibetan faces. And also the product introduction on the website mentions such features.

Development of the “Uyghur Warning” system

IPVM pointed out that Dahua Technology’s surveillance cameras can identify Uyghurs in a crowd and issue “Uyghur Alerts” to the CCP police, helping them arrest Uyghurs quickly. This is the “online police” model promoted by “Dahua Technology” to improve the predictive, early warning and prevention capabilities of the police. IPVM criticized this race warning technique as evil and needs to stop.

The IPVM said that “Dahua Technology” has won contracts worth nearly $1 billion for large-scale police projects in Xinjiang, including the construction and operation of surveillance facilities in Xinjiang police stations. In November 2020, Dahua Technology replied to the South China Morning Post via email, denying that its products have a race tracking function. In February 2021, “Dahua Technology” was found to have software development tools that included Uyghur tracking capabilities, and the company later amended its claim of “having never provided any ethnic detection products or services in Xinjiang, China.”

In August 2021, “Dahua Technology” again changed its claim of “never having developed a product or solution designed to identify or otherwise appeal to a specific ethnic group”.

Finally, in August 2022, Dahua Technology acknowledged the authenticity of the “Uyghur Warning” work, but claimed that the document was a “historic internal software design requirements document.” The company had never implemented it or used it commercially.

Recently, “Dahua Technology” admitted to IPVM the authenticity of the launch of the four camera product websites, but stated that it was “deeply disturbed and concerned” about the launch on its own website and had already launched an investigation. The company claims that the investigation revealed that the relevant website was published before 2018 and that they have never developed racial identifiers for commercial use, even claiming they “never develop products and solutions that identify or discriminate against a single ethnic group”. .

Widespread use of technology as a totalitarian tool

On October 13, the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (MIGS) held a meeting to launch its new book, Surveillance State: Inside China’s Quest to Launch a New Era of Social Control.

The book mentions that technology companies are authorized by the CCP to produce huge CCTV networks, including artificial intelligence (AI) software capable of instant analysis, to form widespread surveillance systems that do not conform to China’s legal system and emerging digital Privacy codes are bound. Dahua Technology is one of the top ten surveillance technology companies in China.

HK MTR installs Dahua CCTVs

In August 2021, The Epoch Times reported on the installation of CCTV cameras “Dahua Technology” at Hong Kong MTR stations. The MTR Corporation replied at the time that the CCTVs in the station area have a video recording function but no face recognition function. There have always been strict procedures and guidelines for recording video clips and processing the related information thus obtained. Generally, CCTV video clips are destroyed after 28 days. Reference has always been made to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner’s Policy on Personal Data for the relevant practices.

Wong Ho-wah, convener of the Hong Kong Internet Governance Forum’s Open Data Group, responded at the time that he understood Hong Kong citizens’ concerns about the “Dahua Technology” equipment. Due to the alleged involvement of racial facial recognition, the public would be concerned that a similar situation would happen in Hong Kong. “Of course, when you see Hikvision, Dahua, or even just a 360-degree fisheye lens, you think of the facial recognition system.”

Wong also pointed out that the brand of CCTVs is not the most important thing, the key is how they are used. Even if you use other brands to shoot video, you can also transfer the video to computer for video analysis and processing if the pixels are clear enough. He believes that institutions and people using video surveillance should have appropriate ethics and should not use artificial intelligence (AI) excessively or indiscriminately.

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Shan Lam

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