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Amnesty International report: EU companies deliver surveillance technology to China

2020-09-21T14:37:59.361Z

From 360-degree cameras to software for "emotion recognition": Several companies from the EU are apparently helping the Chinese authorities to monitor their citizens.



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Face recognition at the "Security China" conference in Beijing

Photo: Thomas Peter / REUTERS

Despite the difficult human rights situation, EU companies appear to be supplying surveillance technology to China.

That is what a report from Amnesty International suggests.

Among other things, the exports are software for face, behavior and emotion recognition.

The deliveries went "directly to those responsible in the Chinese mass surveillance apparatus and to state institutions in the Chinese region of Xinjiang".

There the government is taking massive action against the Uighur minority.

Amnesty called on the EU to tighten the rules for the export of so-called dual-use goods.

This means goods that can be used for both military and civil purposes.

These include nuclear technologies, navigation systems and monitoring electronics.

The EU Commission is currently negotiating a reform with the European Parliament and the member states.

Three companies under suspicion

"We are very concerned that the governments of the EU member states are condemning human rights violations in Xinjiang with lip service, but at the same time blocking reform proposals," criticized Amnesty expert Lena Rohrbach.

"This means that companies based in Europe can continue to deliver, uncontrollably, the exact technology that is needed for these human rights violations."

Specifically, Amnesty names three companies in the report.

The

organization accuses the

Dutch company

Noldus Information Technology of

having also sold its software for facial and emotion recognition to government agencies in Xinjiang, even though human rights violations were already known in the region at the time.

Noldus denied the allegations and was "shocked".

"Our software cannot be used for mass surveillance and does not pose a risk to human rights," said the company.

360 degree cameras for China's authorities

Second, Amnesty named the French company

Idemia

.

The company delivered facial recognition technology to security authorities in Shanghai under its old name, Morpho.

Idemia said it was a crime solving system.

"It was an old generation facial recognition system that the local criminal investigation department could use after an event occurred. This equipment was unable to be used for real-time surveillance."

Amnesty also criticized the Swedish company

Axis

.

The company delivered tens of thousands of 360-degree cameras to Chinese authorities and thus participated in the establishment of a mass surveillance program.

Axis confirmed the deals and admitted that the products could be misused for purposes other than intended by the company.

At the same time, the company said: "Axis only develops solutions for user scenarios that we believe in, and we clearly communicate how our solutions should be used."

Icon: The mirror

rai / dpa

Source: spiegel

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