Dahua and Hikvision Co-Author Racial And Ethnic PRC Police Standards

By IPVM Team, Published Mar 30, 2021, 07:24am EDT

Hikvision and Dahua helped write Chinese police video surveillance standards which include tracking people's skin color - such as "black", "yellow" and "brown" - and ethnicity, IPVM has verified.

Watch this short video for an overview:

IPVM Image

These standards allow police to search video surveillance footage and mugshot/suspect databases via various 'personal attributes', including skin color. The standards are widely mandated by recent Chinese police security camera projects.

The standards also include "ethnicity" tracking, without naming any specific ethnicity. However, evidence found by IPVM indicates "ethnicity" tracking targets Uyghurs and Tibetans specifically.

In this report, IPVM investigates these standards and what they show about PRC police practices.

Reuters validated IPVM's findings, publishing its own report on this:

IPVM Image

Police Standards Explainer

The Chinese government issues detailed standards across all sectors of government, including for the police's vast security camera networks. Police standards are issued by the Ministry of Public Security but each standard is written by a different mix of government research institutes, police departments, and surveillance companies. While the standards are officially "recommended", as noted by a supplier of the standards, "'Recommended' is not voluntary, it should be treated as 'mandatory'".

Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News
Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News

Race Tracking Revealed

GA/T1400.3—2017 is a national standard for "public security video image information application systems" which includes "skin color" and ethnicity detection as "personal attributes" that police can search databases for ("Ethic" is a misspelling for Ethnic):

IPVM Image

This 2017 standard has been mandated in many PRC police video surveillance RFPs:

Additionally, VMS provider and co-drafter of the standard NetPosa boasted in August 2019 that its platform "passed" the GA/T 1400.3 standard.

Companies which wrote the standard include Uniview, Hikvision, Dahua, Netposa:

Drafting organizations of this section: Science and Technology Information Technology Bureau of the Ministry of Public Security, Zhejiang Public Security Institute of Science and Technology, Zhejiang Uniview Technology Co., Ltd., Zhejiang Liyuan Communication Technology Co., Ltd., the First Research Institute of the Ministry of Public Security, and National Security Alarm System Product Quality Supervision Inspection Center (Beijing), Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co., Ltd., Zhejiang Dahua Technology Co., Ltd., Zhejiang Jieshang Vision Technology Co., Ltd., NetPosa Technology Co., Ltd. [emphasis added]

本部分起草单位:公安部科技信息化局、浙江省公安科技研究所、浙江宇视科技有限公司、浙江立元通信技术股份有限公司、公安部第一研究所、国家安全防范报警系统产品质量监督检验中心(北京)、杭州海康威视数字技术股份有限公司、浙江大华技术股份有限公司、浙江捷尚视觉科技股份有限公司、东方网力科技股份有限公司。

GA/T 1756-2020 is a national standard for "person image/face recognition applications in video surveillance for public security." The standard includes "skin color analysis" as part of "face attributes":

IPVM Image

The specific skin colors are "white, black, yellow, brown, other":

IPVM Image

This standard was passed in November 2020 and will come into effect on May 1, 2021 so it has not yet been cited by police projects. Companies which wrote this standard include prominent AI startup Yitu and Kedacom:

This standard was drafted by the Science and Technology Information Bureau of the Ministry of Public Security, the National Engineering Laboratory for Intelligent Analysis and Sharing of Video and Image Information, Beijing Zhongdun Security Technology Development Company, the First Research Institute of the Ministry of Public Security, Shanxi Provincial Public Security Department, Tsinghua University , National Security and Alarm System Product Quality Supervision and Inspection Center (Beijing), Science and Technology Information Division of Yunnan Public Security Department, Lianyungang Public Security Bureau, Jiangsu Province, Suzhou Keda Technology Co., Ltd. [Kedacom], Beijing Shenxing Technology Co., Ltd., Chongqing Zhongkeyun From Technology Co., Ltd. Shanghai Yitu Network Technology Co., Ltd. [emphasis added]

本标准起草单位公安部科技信息化局,视频图像信息智能分析与共享应用技术国家工程实验室,北京中盾安全技术开发公司,公安部第一研究所,山西省公安厅信通处,清华大学,国家安全防范报警系统产品质量监督检验中心(北京),云南省公安厅科技信息化处,江苏省连云港市公安局,苏州科达科技股份有限公司,北京深醒科技有限公司,重庆中科云从科技有限公司上海依图网络科技有限公司.

DB41/T 1514—2017 is a provincial standard for Henan police detailing "technical specifications for security system in residential districts" which tracks skin color and ethnicity ('ethic code'):

IPVM Image

DB41/T 1514—2017 mandates that residential communities have security cameras "clearly recording facial features of people entering and exiting" buildings:

6.4.1 [cameras are installed at] entrances and exits of residential buildings, as well as the entrances and exits of shops and clubs in the community [...] should clearly record the facial features of the people entering and exiting and stored in the system in image format

Hikvision and Dahua are listed as co-drafters of this standard:

Drafting organizations of this standard: Zhengzhou Municipal Public Security Bureau, China Academy of Space Technology, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co., Ltd., Zhejiang Dahua Technology Co., Ltd., Henan Huaan Baoquan Intelligent Development Co., Ltd., China Unicom System Integration Co., Ltd. Henan Branch The company, Suzhou Keda Technology Co., Ltd. [Kedacom], Zhengzhou Lanshi Technology Co., Ltd. Zhengzhou BlueEye Tech Technology Co., Ltd. [emphasis added]

本标准起草单位:郑州市公安局、中国空间技术研究院、杭州海康威视数字技术股份有限公司、浙江大华技术股份有限公司、河南华安保全智能发展有限公司、联通系统集成有限公司河南分公司、苏州科达科技股份有限公司、郑州蓝视科技有限公司.

DB4403/T 43—2020 is a local standard for Shenzhen police for security camera networks in 'Smart Parks' (industrial areas) and includes skin color and ethnicity tracking as part of "face information data for video surveillance":

IPVM Image

Hikvision, Uniview, and ZKTeco are some of the firms listed as drafters of this standard:

Drafting organizations of this standard: Police Security Department of Shenzhen Municipal Public Security Bureau, Anda Technology (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd., Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co., Ltd., Zhejiang Uniview Technology Co., Ltd., Shenzhen Bosi High-Tech Co., Ltd., Shenzhen Jieshun Technology Industrial Co., Ltd., Guangdong Aike Zhibo Technology Co., Ltd., ZKTeco Technology Co., Ltd., Shenzhen Saifim Technology Co., Ltd., Shenzhen Zhongyan Anchuang Technology Development Co., Ltd., Shenzhen Ai Li'an Security Equipment Co., Ltd. Shenzhen Alean Security Equipment Co., Ltd [emphasis added]

本标准起草单位:深圳市公安局警务保障部、安恩达科技(深圳)有限公司、杭州海康威视数字技术股份有限公司、浙江宇视科技有限公司、深圳市博思高科技有限公司、深圳市捷顺科技实业股份有限公司、广东艾科智泊科技股份有限公司、中控智慧科技股份有限公司、深圳市赛菲姆科技有限公司、深圳市中研安创科技发展有限公司、深圳市艾礼安安防设备有限公司。

DB65/T 4176.2-2018 is a provincial standard for Xinjiang police for "technical database requirements" for "video and image" systems. The standard does not include skin tone but does include "EthicReliability", a statistical confidence score estimating whether someone belong to an (unnamed) ethnic group on a 0-100 scale. The higher the number, the more likely that person belongs to this ethnic group, the standard explains:

IPVM Image

The standard was written by two government research institutes and Xinjiang Sailing Information Technology, a big data company.

Chinese Face Rec Firm Says 'Ethnicity' Means Uyghurs, Tibetans

The police standards above only mention "ethnicity" in the context of China's 56 official ethnic groups. Uyghurs are not explicitly mentioned by these standards, despite the fact that Chinese police often integrate Uyghur-detecting AI software in their security camera networks.

However, a Chinese facial recognition company, Bresee, which is owned by Uniview's parent company TransInfo, uploaded an explainer to its website that "EthicCode" is meant for tracking Uyghurs and Tibetans ('Zang' people in Chinese) specifically:

IPVM Image

This indicates that "EthicCode", while officially meant to identify any ethnic group, may in practice target Uyghurs along with another repressed minority (Tibetans). As IPVM previously reported, the Ministry of Public Security issued a draft facial recognition standard in December 2017 which explicitly included Uyghur recognition; IPVM could not locate a final version of this standard.

Alibaba Cloud SDK Includes Skin Color, Ethnicity

On Github, Alibaba Cloud's official SDK team uploaded code that includes Skin Color and Ethnic Code:

IPVM Image

The Github page includes no details about why this was uploaded. Alibaba didn't respond to IPVM's comment request.

Hikvision, Dahua Response

Hikvision declined to comment to IPVM. Dahua, Uniview, ZKTeco, Bresee, Kedacom, Yitu, NetPosa, and Alibaba did not respond to our requests for comment. If any do, IPVM will update this article.

Dahua told Reuters that the race/ethnicity tracking was "false" and that "Dahua was not involved in creating the database section of the document that mentions ethnic groups". Meanwhile, Hikvision told Reuters that it is "committed to upholding the highest standards and respect for human rights" and "As a manufacturer that does not oversee the operation of our products, we do ensure our cameras are designed to protect communities and property".

ACLU: "Enormous Uproar" Had US Government Done Similar

Jay Stanley, senior policy analyst at the ACLU, told IPVM that video surveillance standards with skin color and ethnicity tracking would trigger 'enormous uproar' had it been the US government behind them, citing China's standards as a cautionary tale for the West:

IPVM Image

If the government here in the United States was discovered mandating the tracking of skin color and ethnicity, there would be an enormous uproar. Yet it does fit with surveillance patterns we’ve seen before here, such as in the banking and travel sectors, where the government requires companies to collect information about customers on its behalf. As security cameras continue to proliferate and video analytics gets better, it’s not a huge leap to imagine authorities pressuring private camera operators to collect and store identifying details in the same way, just in case it’s needed. We should never let that happen.

China Companies Complicit In Racist Practices

IPVM previously reported that Dahua Offers "Race Recognition", but the above shows that this is far from unique; clearly, many Chinese video surveillance companies are directly involved in helping PRC police standardize racist practices.

China is the only country to have explicitly codified race-tracking in their police video surveillance standards, according to IPVM reviews of publicly-available standards. While such analytics would spark an outcry elsewhere, it is unfortunately not surprising that PRC police deploy them, given their ubiquitous Uyghur tracking.

Comments (26)

Only IPVM Members may comment. Login or Join.

Dahua offer Reuters this excuse:

Dahua was not involved in creating the database section of the document that mentions ethnic groups

So Dahua admits it co-authored the standard, just that they were not involved with the 'database section' which is the heart of the entire standard. That's what these standards are doing, defining what needs to be tracked, i.e., the 'database'.

This is similar to their bizarre denial of "Uyghur Warnings" when we uncovered their own technical documentation defining and explaining its operation.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

I used to work with a woman who is half-Nigerian, half-Malaysian. Her husband is white and they have two children. I wonder how this tech would work on their son and daughter...

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny: 2

That would be a neat experiment. I'm also a bit curious just how good the analytic works; hopefully better than some other analytics we've been sold on and also especially if people's freedoms and lives depend on it operating properly...

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

So Dahua and Hikvision can no longer be SIA members, right?

SIA Membership Code of Ethics

Agree: 5
Disagree
Informative: 1
Unhelpful
Funny: 1

"So Dahua and Hikvision can no longer be SIA members, right?"

Well, let's not be unreasonable here; maybe they've paid their dues to be part of the club, maybe even a little side action(some may say; who really knows?). SIA, like the United Nations, is an interesting organization; but.........

Agree: 1
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

...ethnicity detection as "personal attributes" that police can search databases for ("Ethic" is a misspelling for Ethnic):

Code of Ethics, Code of Ethnics

Choose One.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny: 1

"What do you mean we're unethical? We used the word ethic 9 times in that document!"

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny: 5

"What do you mean we're unethical? We used the word ethic 9 times in that document!"

You've never worked with "offshore support"? (Maybe you're offshore from the US and take the literal meaning. Many of us deal with it everyday and I have my "super-decoder-ring" to help me- although even that doesn't work everytime). That darn "n" always getting in the way.... :)

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

"Frog alert?"

"Yes sir, fraud alert"

"What's a frog alert"

" Sir, we are attempting to inform you about a very important fraud alert"

" I'm sorry, but I don't have any frogs"

" No ,sir, a f-r-a-u-d alert"

" Yeah, I get it; a frog alert. What part of - I have no frogs don't you get?"

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

I thought this was a technology group, not a political group. Sounds like a lot of politics lately. I think we got it already..

Agree: 3
Disagree: 3
Informative: 2
Unhelpful: 4
Funny: 2

this was a technology group, not a political group

Well, this is a case of technology companies becoming engaged in political activities (i.e., setting government standards to persecute minorities).

For example, we don't cover the PRC's harvesting of organs from political prisoners, not because we support it but because it does not involve security technology, does that make sense?

Agree: 5
Disagree: 1
Informative: 1
Unhelpful: 1
Funny

For example, we don't cover the PRC's harvesting of organs from political prisoners...

John plays the “Organ Donor Card”...

Agree: 1
Disagree
Informative: 1
Unhelpful: 2
Funny

" Oh no he didn't!" Ouch...

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

what some people will do just to get a Pun Score from B.R. never ceases to amaze me...

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful: 1
Funny

Speaking for myself, I guess I get enough politics everywhere else. For example, the awards shows (Grammy awards, Emmy awards and others) have turned into a political event and because of it, their ratings are down. People get bombarded with everything from technology to movies becoming vehicles for expression of political ideas and virtue signalling. It's your playform so obvioulsy you do what you do. It just seemed like the story was more about something most of us already know...the Chinese government is deeply connectly with their technology companies and use this control to spy and control. Thanks for your perspective John.

Agree: 2
Disagree: 1
Informative: 2
Unhelpful
Funny

have turned into a political event and because of it, their ratings are down

That is certainly a risk! I do think these things are important and unlike the Oacars, we are doing fundamental investigative work to uncover these things.

It just seemed like the story was more about something most of us already know...

I agree with you that many already know it but many don’t accept it so it is important to keep finding and providing evidence such that the case is clear and excuses from the manufacturers are shown to be just that.

Agree: 1
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

Many just don't care about what's happening there; especially when so much is happening here (in the US) with nothing to little being done about it. Many have no problem with the databasing analytics based on ethnicity. The analytic, itself is not bad; how some use it is bad. It's already being done on other platforms; just not openly or they haven't been outted yet or it's "ok" on those other platforms, maybe because how they use the data isn't considered bad(yet). Focus on those that are actually misusing tech maybe here, in your own backyard. Maybe a few articles on what's happening in the southwest of the US. There must be some tech misuse happening there. It would be interesting to see the ethnicity analytics technology used here, in the clear. Pandora's box is open, good luck controlling it now. We're getting what we(well, what some) asked for(and more) - go tech!. Let's experiment with this feature and a few others; wait china is, but their not the only ones experimenting....

Agree: 1
Disagree: 1
Informative: 1
Unhelpful: 1
Funny

Maybe a few articles on what's happening in the southwest of the US. There must be some tech misuse happening there

We’d love to break a story on that but is there any evidence to that end? One of the benefits about having free press is that even if some people in America thought about having “Mexican” video analytics, the obvious and rightful backlash would be severe. Again happy to report and if anyone has tips for the “southwest” please share. The reality is that all signs point to China’s abuse of surveillance tech to be far worse than the USA or EU.

Agree: 2
Disagree: 2
Informative
Unhelpful: 2
Funny

"Obvious and rightful backlash", in your opinion, but maybe not in the minds of others.

"The reality is that all signs point to China’s abuse of surveillance tech to be far worse than the USA or EU."

Once again, not necessarily fact, but your opinion, although presented to be perceived as fact. It may not be reality at all. And all signs may not point that direction either.

It is not my job to investigate; it is yours. We pay you $3 million (US) anually to investigate.

Agree: 1
Disagree: 1
Informative: 1
Unhelpful
Funny: 1

Once again, not necessarily fact, but your opinion, although presented to be perceived as fact. It may not be reality at all.

You troll each of these posts, yet you don’t actually produce any evidence yourself. I welcome you to produce such evidence proving that the USA or EU is worse than the PRC when it comes to video surveillance.

If you feel so strongly that there is other evidence out there, go and prove it, post it and make us look bad. Or stop trolling.

Agree: 3
Disagree: 3
Informative
Unhelpful: 2
Funny

I simply find it odd that you find so much evidence as relates to this particular topic. I don't need to produce evidence as my statements are my opinions. It is not my intention to make you look bad; you can do that on your own if you like...Now I'm a troller. If you don't agree with or value my opinions, you are free to breeze right on past them. Others have similar opinions to mine. We are independent thinkers. Here come the cancel culture again..

Agree: 1
Disagree: 2
Informative: 1
Unhelpful: 2
Funny: 1

unlike the Oacars,

What are the Oacars, is that some form of new vehicle tech?

Agree
Disagree
Informative: 1
Unhelpful
Funny: 1

There are many reasonable and critical thinkers on this platform and we all have opinions based on our experiences, knowledge, training and multiple objective (and some not so objective but we sift through it) information sources. The other platforms you mentioned (Grammy's, oscar's, mtv, xet, msnbc, cnn,..ok I added a few on..) are more in the "sheep steering" business. John and the others at ipvm feel this is important and as long as we all understand what is important to each of us; no problem, they can go on and on about it until the cows come home. You may want to practice filtering out what is unimportant to you ( yes I also have to better practice it myself....but I digress) and find the articles here you deem worthy of your time(our precious time....). Some days it's fun commenting; others not so much(a therapy of sorts). On the days I get too angry about how my membership funds are used, but don't feel like commenting, I'll read another, more useful article here or elsewhere. These folks do nice work but just get a bit of tunnel vision with certain topics at times.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

i don't understand why you expect hikua to be more catholic than the Pope?

how is this different from western companies trying to be "speced in" a tender. Hikua is doing what every vendor would do to get inside a huge client.

you disagree with this client, and that's understandable since it's a dictatorship, but hikua are Chinese companies selling to the chinese government, for them it's not a problem.

if you don't like it, buy Korean, Taiwanese, Swedish, many options out there...

Agree: 1
Disagree: 3
Informative: 1
Unhelpful
Funny

Thanks for the feedback - I do have a few counterpoints.

Hikua is doing what every vendor would do to get inside a huge client.

No, Hikua is co-writing widely-used police standards which include Skin Color and ethnicity tracking. It's not quite the same as a vendor offering something to get a big contract.

hikua are Chinese companies selling to the chinese government, for them it's not a problem.

Of course it's not a problem for them. The point of this article is to bring up the ethical implications of such activities. Are you saying that because it's happening in China, it's not newsworthy? By that standard the media should never cover human rights violations in China because "for them it's not a problem".

if you don't like it, buy Korean, Taiwanese, Swedish, many options out there...

Yes that is true, however, Hikvision/Dahua/Uniview (and Chinese companies generally) command a big portion of the global video surveillance market, which is one reason we cover stories like this.

Agree: 3
Disagree: 2
Informative
Unhelpful: 2
Funny

Well at least we know that the analytics work. Especially the facial recognition. Thank you for the article.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny
Loading Related Reports