Dahua Provides "Uyghur Warnings" To China PoliceBy IPVM Team, Published Feb 09, 2021, 09:06am EST
Dahua provides "real-time Uyghur Warnings" to China police, as Dahua's own technical documents reveal, discovered by IPVM. This video explains what Dahua is doing:
IPVM collaborated with the LA Times on this report, see: LA Times Race detection and ‘real-time Uighur warnings’ — inside Dahua’s facial recognition technology.
Dahua China Support Documents
Dahua's China product support portal, via a link on Dahua's own website, documented Dahua police video surveillance projects including numerous explicit references to Uyghurs.
In China, police security camera networks integrate 'Uyghur alert' AI software that notifies police when a Uyghur-looking face appears on video surveillance footage.
Dahua Heart of City
Heart of City (HOC) is Dahua's smart police solution. Dahua describes HOC:
Improves the ability of police intelligence" by creating "a new 'online police' model that enhances prediction, early-warning and prevention capabilities of the police [emphasis added]
"Real-Time Uyghur Warnings" For "Smart Police"
"Real-time Uyghur warnings" (维族人员实时预警) are listed by Dahua in a December 2019 document for Dahua's Smart Police Heart Of City program:
Real-time Uyghur Warnings
web operating terminal, human face system- research and analysis, configure/deploy Uyghur person model
Client, facial recognition-data model-model search, choose Uyghur person model, search for corresponding data
- prerequisites require the front end to support reporting Uyghur [face] attributes [emphasis added]
This means if a Dahua security camera sees what it believes is a Uyghur, it immediately/automatically reports that to police. The reference to "front end" supporting "reporting Uyghur attributes" means security cameras must be technically advanced/well-placed enough to support automated detection of Uyghur faces. (This is common - Hikvision, Dahua's rival, once promoted an Uyghur-detecting AI camera.)
Big Face Platform Supports Uyghur Warnings
Another Dahua HOC support document of "standard features" dated March 2020 shows "real time Uyghur warnings" are "supported" by V1.1 of the C9505 Big Face Platform:
Dahua says the C9505 Big Face platform processes a "massive [amount of] face information" for things like "suspect tracking":
provides capability of network-based access, analysis, processing and visualized display of massive face information, which effectively addresses such issues as difficult query and suspect tracking [emphasis added]
"Real-Time Warning Mode For Non-Local Uyghurs"
A Dahua test report of its own face analytics from March 2019 mentions "real time Uyghur warnings" thirteen separate times. The document targets "non-local" Uyghurs specifically, i.e. Uyghurs that don't already live within a police jurisdiction:
Adding real-time warning mode for non-local Uyghurs
- Log in to the web administrator's face system to study and analyze, click 'Add'
- Select the real-time warning mode for non-local Uyghurs, enter the task name, enter the task remarks, and click 'Next'
- Select the monitoring range, select the corresponding channel, and the settings appear... [emphasis added]
As can be seen above, Dahua marked this as "Pass", meaning this feature was included/functional. The guide does not explain why "non-local" Uyghurs are targeted, however, in practice, they would likely draw extra scrutiny compared to those already known to authorities.
Tracking "Uyghurs With Hidden Terrorist Inclinations"
Another Dahua document is a "big data" guide from December 2020 for Dahua's "Sharp Eyes" projects, the name given to the PRC's wide-ranging police video surveillance projects.
The guide mentions a number of categories of people Dahua tracks under "Police Data", including "Uyghurs with hidden terrorist inclinations" (隐性涉恐维族人员), given code "3185":
Other categories next to "Uyghurs with hidden terrorist inclinations" includes drug addicts, thieves, prostitutes, fugitives, gangsters, fraudsters:
The PRC government considers many mundane things as signs of "hidden terrorist inclinations" such as having a full beard, owning multiple knives, going to a mosque, etc. Uyghurs suspected of such "inclinations" are typically rounded up and sent to Xinjiang's brutal 're-education' camps.
Background: Dahua Under Fire For Racist Software
In November 2020, an engineer exposed in a viral tweet that Dahua's SDK included lines of code specifically for identifying Uyghurs. This was covered by several outlets, including The South China Morning Post, which quoted Dahua denying it sells "ethnicity-focused recognition":
Dahua Technology does not sell products that feature [an] ethnicity-focused recognition function
Clearly, the evidence in Dahua's own technical documents shows the contrary.
No Response from Dahua
IPVM contacted Dahua more than a day and a half prior to publishing, detailing the evidence discovered, but Dahua did not respond. Furthermore, Dahua did not respond to the LA Times' multiple requests for comments.
Dahua Boasted About Human Rights Sanctions
Dahua boasted that human rights sanctions showcase its "strong technological capability" after it was sanctioned by the US government for being "implicated in the implementation of China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, and high-technology surveillance" against Uyghurs. Prior to that, IPVM found that Dahua won almost $1 billion in massive police surveillance projects in Xinjiang.
This is clear proof that Dahua is involved in the repression of an ethnic minority. Video surveillance is increasingly at risk of abusing human rights, as Dahua is here, which poses a risk to the public acceptance of video surveillance as a whole and to the people who governments surveil.
UPDATE April 2021
Since Dahua has made a number of public comments including denying offering Uyghur warnings, we are adding in full screencaps of the Dahua webpages where we obtained the information to show it in context how Dahua designed, tested, and documented their Uyghur warning solution:
27 reports cite this report:
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