MASSIMO INTROVIGNE | BITTER WINTER
Chinese electronic giant tries to deny that it produces technology for Uyghur face recognition. But it’s all true, here are the proofs.
On December 8, several international media reported that Huawei is producing facial recognition technology capable of recognizing whether a face belong to a Uyghur woman or man. The news sparked outrage, not only as further evidence that Huawei cooperates with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s system of repression, but as a blatant case of racism. Imagine if neo-Nazis or anti-Semitic terrorists were able to buy facial recognition technology identifying in a crowd who is a Jew.
Huawei, fearful of further international blame and sanctions, promptly denied that the technology exists, admitting only vague “tests.”
However, Huawei lied, and so did Megvii, a large Chinese company specialized in facial recognition technology, which also denied accusations that it cooperated with Huawei in producing these so-called “Uyghur alarms.”
IPVM, the world’s leading authority on video surveillance, discovered an internal Huawei document that, by purpose or mistake, was freely available on Huawei’s European website. Immediately after IPVM asked Huawei for explanations, the document disappeared.
You may see above the relevant part of the document, a report titled “Huawei Video Cloud Solution and Megvii Dynamic Face Recognition Interoperability Test Report”.
The document is about the cooperation between Huawei and Megvii in testing some “basic functions” of the new technology, including “recognition based on ethnicity” of Uyghurs. This is called “Uyghur alarm,” and the test was successful.
In Europe, on December 8, a top soccer game was interrupted in Paris after a referee used a racially connotated word to designate an African assistant coach. The referee will now be sanctioned, and his career is over. It is not less urgent for democratic countries to sanction Megvii and Huawei for this racist assault on the Uyghurs, not to mention their continuous cooperation with the crimes of the CCP regime.
There is also another problem. IPVM proved that the Huawei-Megvii system runs on GPU chips provided by NVIDIA, an American company. Perhaps NVIDIA is not aware of how its chips are used. On December 8, Republican Senator Marco Rubio and Democratic Representative Jim McGovern wrote to both NVIDIA and Intel inquiring about possible use of their technology in China for repressive purposes. But, now that the smoking gun has been found,
the U.S. administration may want to prevent NVIDIA from selling its products to Huawei and Megvii—for any purpose, since this incident proves that we cannot trust what these Chinese companies say.