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China's Mass Surveillance More Sophisticated Than Thought

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A checkpoint at a bazaar in Urumqi, China, is equipped with a metal detector and facial recognition technology.

Technology companies in China appear to be helping the government operate a mass surveillance system.

Credit: Bloomberg

Some of China's biggest technology companies are helping the government operate a mass surveillance system, according to a report from Human Rights Watch.

For example, a mobile app used by police relies on facial recognition technology from a firm backed by Alibaba Group Holding to match faces with photo identification and cross-check pictures on different documents.

In addition, the app checks a range of other data points—including electricity and smartphone use, personal relationships, and political and religious affiliations—to flag suspicious behavior.

The report sheds light on the vast scope of activity the Chinese government is monitoring as it cracks down on its minority Muslim Uighur population.

Human Rights Watch says it collected the information by reverse-engineering the police app.

From Bloomberg
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Abstracts Copyright © 2019 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


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