Huawei’s patent for technology identifying Uighurs by facial recognition uncovered

Jan 15, 2021 by

from Barnabas Fund:

A patent filed by technology giant Huawei for a system that identifies the faces of ethnic Uighurs, a severely persecuted group in China, has been uncovered by US researchers.

Huawei’s patent, originally filed in July 2018 in collaboration with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, describes advanced artificial-intelligence techniques that identify various features of pedestrians photographed or filmed in the street. It is mainly concerned with how different body postures, such as whether someone is sitting or standing, affect accuracy. However, it also lists “attributes” that can be used to target specific individuals, including ethnicity.

An excerpt from the code reads, “race (Han [China’s largest ethnic group], Uighur)”.

The discovery follows Huawei’s reported testing of automated “Uighur alert” facial “attribute recognition” software capable of identifying ethnic Uighurs from surveillance images and sending an alert message to police.

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