Hikvision, the largest supplier of surveillance cameras across the world, has marketed an AI-based camera that can detect a specific minority group of China known as Uyghurs. The surveillance camera reviewer website IPVM questioned Hikvision about their minority-tracker camera, after which the company reportedly ended up deleting the product page.
Hikvision is a surveillance-camera giant and most of the company’s controlling shares are owned by the Chinese government. Their AI-based cameras make it easier for the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to track what has been called the most persecuted minority in the world – Uyghurs.
The name of the camera is DS-2CD7A2XYZ-JM/RX and here’s the description from the camera’s product page:
“Capable of analysis on target personnel’s sex (male, female), ethnicity (such as Uyghurs, Han) and color of skin (such as white, yellow, or black), whether the target person wears glasses, masks, caps, or whether he has beard, with an accuracy rate of no less than 90%.”
After IPVM questioned the company about the product, it was immediately removed from the company’s website as this link, which once hosted the AI-based camera now shows an error. Moreover, a quick analysis of Google’s search page returns revealed that the Hikvision page was last updated on 8th April 2019.
While the Chinese ambassador recognizes 56 ethnic groups, the company Hikvision’s analytics only signals out the two groups, Hans and Uyghurs.
Diving deeper into the ethnic groups of China, the “Han” people the largest ethnic group living in the PRC. Uyghurs are mostly Muslims existing in the Xinjiang region in China and have been under intensive surveillance from the Chinese government.
Moreover, according to IPVM, it could not find any other surveillance camera on the market that offered to recognize Uyghurs. Based on how quickly the product was taken off of the internet, it is speculated that the manufacturers of such products are self-censoring themselves to steer clear from any potential scrutiny or backlash.
Hikivision hasn’t responded to any questions about the AI-based surveillance camera but deleted all the content about it, according to the report.