Dahua, Amazon Partner in China, Developing Facial Recognition Technology to Track Uyghurs

Earlier this month, a Chinese company that took advantage of the deployment of AI-powered surveillance equipment in Xinjiang momentarily released some of its code online, providing insight into how tech companies are following. the Uyghur people of the region on behalf of the Chinese government.

In what can only be described as massive hogwash, someone – likely a software engineer employed by Dahua Technology, the supplier of surveillance equipment – released the company’s software development kit for monitoring tools. video tracking, specially designed to identify Uyghurs. Munich-based software security engineer Serge Bazanski came across the code on Github and tweeted screenshots, as well as a link to the full Dahua code on Y Combinator’s Hacker News, November 2.

Dahua removed his kit from Github soon after, but it was archived on the Wayback Machine.

The code includes race-based tagging and tracking, along with identifiers of seemingly harmless physical traits, such as if a scanned subject has a beard, wears a mask, or wears a purse or backpack. Among other visibly quantifiable traits, it categorizes the clothes a person wears and, apparently, the person’s emotional state: ORDINARY, ANGER, DISGUST, FEAR, CONFUSED, YELL, and more.

As long as someone who is already being tracked remains in sight of Dahua’s cameras, the algorithm can determine the mode of transport used, right down to the vehicle’s make, and identify their license plate. And the system is designed to integrate with any hardware that has a camera and an internet connection, co-opting things like ATMs into part of the device network that tracks Uyghurs.

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