REPORT: Chinese Big Tech Is Using Zimbabwe Citizens As Guineas Pigs To Identify And Track Black People

The Daily Caller | 12/2/2019 | Staff
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Chinese big tech companies are using Zimbabwe as a large research laboratory to develop facial recognition that will help them identify and track black people, The Financial Times reported Monday.

ZTE and other Chinese tech behemoths are shaping the United Nations’s architectural standards for facial recognition technology, according to leaked documents FT obtained. The standard will reportedly help China’s tech industry open up new markets in the Middle East and Africa.

China - Tech - Titans - Standards - United

China’s tech titans are proposing new standards inside the United Nations’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU) for facial recognition, video monitoring, and vehicle surveillance, among other cutting edge tech developments.

Such standards are often accepted by Africa and other developing nations that lack resources, experts say.

States - China - ITU - Resources - Standards

“African states tend to go along with what is being put forward by China and the ITU as they don’t have the resources to develop standards themselves,” Richard Wingfield, head of legal at Global Partners Digital, told reporters.

The standards will help ZTE improve the accuracy of recognition algorithms, particularly with respect to black people, the report notes.

ITU - Proposal - Requirement - Companies - Features

The new ITU proposal stipulates a requirement that companies must store detected facial features in a database, which will include identifying information, such as race, skin color, facial curvature, among other demographic features.

FT provided one example of how Zimbabwe’s government will help ZTE’s technology become more accurate.

Deal - Chinese - Recognition - Company - CloudWalk

“A deal between Chinese facial recognition company CloudWalk and the government of Zimbabwe means the latter will send data on millions of African faces to the Chinese company to help train the technology,” FT’s report Monday noted.

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