Technology Chinese companies want to help shape global facial recognition standards

12:30  02 december  2019
12:30  02 december  2019 Source:   engadget.com

US seeks to blacklist Chinese artificial intelligence firms

  US seeks to blacklist Chinese artificial intelligence firms WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States is blacklisting a group of Chinese tech companies that develop facial recognition and other artificial intelligence technology that the U.S. says is being used to repress China's Muslim minority groups. A move Monday by the U.S. Commerce Department seeks to put the companies on a so-called Entity List for acting contrary to American foreign policy interests. The blacklist effectively bars U.S. firms from selling technology to the Chinese companies without government approval.The blacklisted companies include Hikvision, a global provider of video surveillance technology.

The use of facial recognition technology is continuing to expand, despite concerns about its accuracy and fairness and about how it could be used by governments to spy on people. These concerns have been heightened following a report by the Financial Times which shows that Chinese groups have a significant influence in shaping international standards regarding the technology.

  Chinese companies want to help shape global facial recognition standards

The report details how Chinese companies including ZTE, Dahua and China Telecom are proposing standards for facial recognition to the UN's International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the body responsible for global technical standards in the telecommunication industry.

ACLU sues to reveal the FBI's uses of facial recognition

  ACLU sues to reveal the FBI's uses of facial recognition The ACLU is unsurprisingly concerned about the FBI's use of facial recognition, and it wants to force the agency to divulge its practices. It just filed a lawsuit against the FBI, the Justice Department and the DEA ordering them to turn over records showing "when, where and how" they use facial recognition tech. The civil liberties group was concerned that these systems could "fundamentally alter" society and lead to constant surveillance, and pointed to the FBI's history and public stances as reasons to be concerned.The FBI has engaged in "political policing," the ACLU said, including spying on peaceful activists.

Usually, the standards set by the ITU are technical in nature, but human rights campaigners say the proposals under discussion in this case are more like policy recommendations. The standards proposed include recommendations for use cases, suggesting that facial recognition can be used by police, by employers to monitor employees, and for spotting specific targets in crowds.

The concern is that the technical standards will be adopted by developing nations, particularly those in Africa which lack the resources to develop their own standards. That puts China in a position of power to control the market for the technology.

IBM calls for regulation on facial recognition instead of bans

  IBM calls for regulation on facial recognition instead of bans A handful of cities have already banned police from using facial recognition.An official helps a passenger at Washington Dulles Airport near Washington, DC, with new biometric facial recognition scanners.

For example, a standard for smart street lights that was accepted in June was proposed by ZTE and China Mobile, and it reflects ZTE's smart streetlight product deign, including an option to add video monitoring capabilities to lampposts. Similar technology has been used in Hong Kong against pro-democracy protestors.

China is a major power in the world of facial recognition, and the technology is widely used in the country by law enforcement and to monitor public housing projects. This has led accusations of human rights abuses, with facial recognition used to monitor ethnic minorities as part of on ongoing repression of Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang province.

Financial Times

'This is some real-life Black Mirror stuff' .
Lawmakers heard testimony on the risks of facial recognition programs which are largely unregulated.The technology is being increasingly used by law enforcement worldwide.

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