Hikvision Covers Up Racial Profiling And AI Error

By: John Honovich, Published on Jun 25, 2018

Faced with global scrutiny, led by the US government-funded Voice of America (VOA), Hikvision has covered up evidence showing their racial profiling and Artificial Intelligence errors, refusing any comment on the matter.

Global Scrutiny

VOA published "Technology company Hikvision sees new technology to identify minorities in surveillance video" on June 16th, based on and citing IPVM's exclusive "Hikvision's Minority Analytics" report on May 8th in which we revealed that Hikvision is conducting racial profiling as well as basic errors in their AI system.

VOA and a number of international publications confirmed IPVM's reporting, raising concerns about what the Chinese government-controlled video surveillance manufacturer was doing.

Covered Up

It was picked up by China Digital Times, a prominent site critical of the PRC government, with the site observing that:

IPVM cited case videos from the 2018 AI Cloud Eco-International Summit official website. As of press time, the part of the recognition of "ethnic minorities" has disappeared from the above video.

Hikivision had removed the sections of the video that demonstrated the Artificial Intelligence capabilities including minority analytics and AI errors. Here is the original video segment:

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No Comment Hikvision

Hikvision has offered no public comment to anyone, neither why they covered up the video, why they are conducting minority analytics nor why their own marketing video has such an obvious error.

Moreover, it a futile effort for corporations to erase things they published on the Internet, from the Internet. On the other hand, this is the same company that was careless enough to publish this damaging evidence, in the first place.

Routine Inside China

However, Censorship and covering up information harmful to the China Communist Party is routine inside of China. Just yesterday HBO's website was banned inside of China after a comedian criticized China's supreme leader:

If comedians merit government banning, surely covering up racial profiling and failures of the country's much-hyped AI program are understandable.

Trust Problems With The West

Unfortunately, Hikvision's problems being honest with its 'overseas' Western market is no laughing matter. The company is regularly deceptive about its Chinese government ownership, the company ran a false advertising marketing campaign for their AI, they misled about their backdoor, etc. Indeed, just a week ago, they 'corrected' a false cybersecurity announcement.

Hikvision has a difficult challenge. On the one hand, Hikvision generates 70% of their business inside of China, dependent on being owned and controlled by the Chinese government. On the other hand, Hikvision wants to be a trusted security solutions provider for Western democracies. It simply may not be possible to achieve the latter, given the former.

3 reports cite this report:

"Automated Racism": Chinese Tech Companies Profiling Ethnic Minority on Apr 26, 2019
Scrutiny of Chinese facial recognition providers, including Hikvision, has sharply increased following a New York Times report that they developed...
The False SCMP Story on Hikvision NYC AI on Jan 14, 2019
In the past week, one of Asia's largest publications, the South China Morning Post (SCMP), posted an article about "Chinese [facial recognition]...
Hikvision's Minority Analytics on May 08, 2018
Hikvision has developed and is deploying minority analytics inside China, automatically identifying and categorizing individuals as ethnic...
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