IPVM, a U.S. based company focusing on video surveillance, released a video report on Thursday, November 5, which revealed a secret it discovered in the products of Dahua Technology, a partially state-owned publicly traded company based in China which sells video surveillance products and services. The report stated that the wording “EM_NATION_TYPE_UYGUR” was found in the code of a product downloaded from Dahua Technology’s website.
These English words mean “ethnic type: Uyghur.” Next to these words are the Chinese characters of “维族 (新疆),” meaning “Uyghur (Xinjiang).” One can tell that this video surveillance software has a facial recognition function for Uyghur facial features.
IPVM contacted Dahua Technology for an explanation, but Dahua declined to comment. IPVM reported that the relevant information on Dahua Technology’s website was deleted about 30 minutes after IPVM made the contact.
Dahua Technology, headquartered in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, is one of China’s largest artificial intelligence companies. As of 2019, it occupied the second largest share of the global video surveillance equipment and service market, with an annual revenue of US$3.7 billion. The company has 16,000 employees.
Governments around the world have strongly condemned the concentration camps in Xinjiang that imprison millions of Uyghur Muslims. The huge video surveillance network has enabled Chinese police to arrest and repatriate Uyghur Muslims who had fled across the country.
Dahua and many artificial intelligence companies in China have participated in the construction of this network. They use artificial intelligence technology to design facial recognition software based on the facial features of the Uighurs, and they help the police to achieve all-round control of the Uighurs. Wherever Uighurs flee, they will be located quickly, detained or deported.
IPVM discovered that more than a dozen public security units in China have installed such software. Dahua claims it has won almost $1 billion in massive Xinjiang police surveillance deals.
The US government sanctioned Dahua in October 2019 because of its complicity in human rights abuses against Uyghurs. In response, Dahua bragged about how this showcased its “strong technology.” South China Morning Post reported that, last month, the company changed its product brand and still promoted its products on Amazon.
Dahua Technology’s main competitors are Hikvision, Megvii Technology, SenseTime and Yitu Technology. All of them have participated in the Xinjiang video surveillance network projects. Several of them are also on the United States’ sanctions list.
Source: Voice of America, November 5, 2020