More reports that Hikvision, Nvidia still involved in China ethnic surveillance
There is a new account about how China’s Hikvision biometric surveillance firm continues to specifically target that nation’s Uyghur population with Hikvision facial recognition systems using Nvidia chips.
IPVM, a trade publication covering surveillance systems, says (subscription required and recommended) it has an 85-page signed $6 million contract for hardware and software to be deployed in Chengmai County, Hainan Province.
Hikvision has claimed that any reference to or capability for monitoring Uyghurs in its software was stripped in 2018. Executives have previously said that they are not involved in the Uyghur-repression campaign.
Nvidia claims it is not selling to China, and that the project could be using recycled chips. Executives also have said they are unaware of any third parties selling Nvidia chips to China.
The contract indicates that what has been sold is a “standard configuration” of Hikvision’s DS-1F0100-AI analysis software, noting that the algorithm can differentiate Uyghurs specifically.
IPVM has extensively investigated China’s blanket-like facial recognition networks nationwide, including sophisticated systems that monitor most aspects of the lives of Uyghurs, an ethnic and religious (Muslim) minority. Beijing has tried to erase them through mass imprisonment and repression.
Long before 9/11, the nation’s autocratic government has viewed Uyghurs as a source of political instability.
Most of the effort to date has involved the building of large and remote prison campuses in remote Xinjiang Province, now reportedly filled mostly with Uyghurs and Tibetans.
However, Hainan, where the new systems reportedly will be deployed, is 1,800 miles away from Xinjiang.