Chinese tech giant Huawei reportedly tested a facial recognition software that could send automated “Uighur alarms” to government authorities if a camera identified a Uighur in a crowd.
The company began working with facial recognition start-up Megvii in 2018 to test the artificial intelligence software that could scan faces in a crowd and give estimates regarding their ethnicity, age and sex, according a document exclusively obtained by The Washington Post.
However, if the software detected a Uighur, it could trigger an alarm that would then be sent to local authorities, according to the report.
The system uses a number of facial photos to detect any patterns that would differentiate Uighurs from the Han majority, The Washington Post reported.
Founder of IPVM, a Pennsylvania based company that reviews video-surveillance equipment said the documents showed a frightening reality. (RELATED: REPORT: China Forcing Uighur Muslims To Eat Pork On Holy Days, Will Turn Xinjiang Into ‘Pig-Raising Hub’)
“This is not one isolated company,” he said, according to The Washington Post. “A lot of thought went into making sure this ‘Uighur alarm’ works.”
Both Huawei and Megvii reportedly both acknowledged that the document, which was previously posted to Huawei’s website but has since been removed, is real.
Huawei spokesman Glenn Schloss said the system “is simply a test and it has not seen real-world application. Huawei only supplies general-purpose products for this kind of testing. We do not provide custom algorithms or applications,” according to the report.
Republican Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse said the U.S. needs to send a clear message to Huawei in an official statement.
“The Chinese Community Party’s ugly techno-authoritarianism is depriving Uyghurs of their human rights. While Huawei sells contracts with fancy talk about connecting people around the world, they’re working to send Uyghurs to torture camps in China.”
“The United States should send a clear signal to the rest of the world: Doing business with Huawei has real costs. If you get into bed with these genocidal maniacs, every aspect of our relationship is up for reconsideration,” Sasse continued.
China has been escalating their attacks on the Uighur’s, a minority Muslim group in China. In July it was revealed that hackers linked to the Chinese government had been spying on Uighurs since 2013 by hacking cell phone apps.
Uighur’s are also forced into detention camps where they are forced to undergo abortions and other sterilization processes, according to the Associated Press. China, which is suspected of keeping more than 1 million Uighurs in detention camps in Xinjiang, uses the minority population for forced labor.