Top technology companies in China and the US are vying to sell face recognition software for the United Arab Emirates espionage program and to report claims
- Companies view UAE as a face recognition market, despite concerns about human rights
- IBM and Huawei have both looked at cities like Dubai to sell their software
- The UAE has been ridiculed by Human Rights Watch because of authoritarian tendencies
- In the US, a debate about face recognition continues to spark
While lawmakers, citizens and businesses are discussing the use of face recognition software in the United States, technical giants in America and China are selling products to eager oversight states.
Among the fast-growing markets, according to a Buzzfeed News report, there are monarchies in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), particularly in Dubai, where political leaders have often imprisoned citizens and journalists as political dissidents.
Critics of the UAE are Human Rights Watch (HRW) who has often ridiculed the country because of its authoritarian tendencies.
Private companies such as IBM look at governments accused of violating human rights as a market for face recognition software. File photo
& # 39; UAE authorities have begun a persistent encroachment on freedom of expression and association since 2011 & # 39 ;, says HRW in its analysis.
& # 39; UAE residents who have discussed human rights issues run a high risk of arbitrary detention, imprisonment and torture. Many serve long prison sentences or have put pressure on the country. & # 39;
These practices are said to have prevented certain private companies from around the world from offering their services to UAE regimes, according to Buzzfeed.
At a recent conference on artificial intelligence held in Dubai, representatives of Chinese technology company Huawei – recently banned in the US – said that IBM saw the UAE as a promising face recognition and analysis software market.
In a statement from IBM, a spokesperson said that all company face sales are screened by the company.
& # 39; Robust processes to ensure that potential customer engagement is consistent with our values, as well as US and local legislation & # 39 ;, a spokesperson told Buzzfeed.
As those companies cracked into markets in the UAE, cities such as Dubai have aggressively pursued the formation of a holistic surveillance program called Oyoon, which is aimed at installing tens of thousands of cameras & microphones in the city that citizens will control .
To achieve its goal – which Dubai said it will reduce crime and traffic accidents – the city is looking for artificially intelligent face recognition software that can not only scan the faces of potential suspects, but also interpret their behavior and voices, Buzzfeed said.
In addition, software from, among others, Huawei and IBM also have the possibility to measure crowds in real time, including the size of the meeting and which subjects may be worn. In theory, law enforcement could then respond more quickly to political protests, possibly in an attempt to suppress them.
In 2018 during Oyoon's first year, the Dubai police said the program immediately helped more than arrest 300 people.
China may have the most robust surveillance system in the world and user recognition to scan the faces of millions of people every day
As access to and recognition of facial recognition software increases, activist groups and legislators have begun to push boundaries where and when the technology can be implemented.
In San Francisco, technology was banned for use by law enforcement officials – a legal precedent in the US – and other legislation is bubbling up at the federal level that would limit use of face recognition data by entities without the user's permission.
In the private sector, however, technology suppliers are usually indifferent to the ethical questions about the sale and development of face recognition software.
This month, in a vote by shareholders, Amazon overwhelmingly rejected a ban on the sale of its face recognition software, Rekognition, despite concerns from some of its board members that the technology could be abused by authoritarian governments and harm law enforcement or personal privacy.
How can the Chinese police catch criminals with face recognition sunglasses?
In China, police are now wearing sunglasses equipped with face recognition technology to capture criminal suspects.
Transport police in Zhengzhou, central China, got the latest gadgets in 2018 to screen passengers and spot suspects in train stations.
A camera connected to the smartphone-like shades would allow the officers to take mosquito shots of the individual in question and compare them with a database at the head office.
The transport police in Zhengzhou, central China, got the latest gadgets in February to screen passengers and spot suspects in train stations
The system would then contain the personal information of the suspect, including name, ethnicity, gender and address. All information would be transferred back to the glasses of the officer.
The glasses can also tell officers whether or not the targets are fleeing the law, the address of a hotel where they are staying and information regarding their internet use.
This is part of China's efforts to build a digital surveillance system that uses a variety of biometric data – from photos and iris scans to fingerprints – to closely monitor the movements of its 1.4 billion inhabitants to hold.
The technology has since allowed the police in Zhengzhou to arrest seven suspects.
They were accused of crimes ranging from human trafficking to hit-and-runs.
Another 26 people were caught using fake ID's, according to the state's People's Daily, citing city police.
The sunglasses system for face recognition was also extended to Beijing in March, particularly at the highway checkpoints on the outskirts of the city.
The smart glasses can retrieve facial features and license plates and match them in real time with a & # 39; blacklist & # 39; of suspects, according to Reuters.
The rapid development of technology has also led to a demand for commercial applications, in which gyms, restaurants and even public toilets are part of the face recognition game.
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