China is testing video surveillance systems capable of recognizing emotions on Uyghurs

China is testing video surveillance systems capable of recognizing emotions on Uyghurs

The complaint of an engineer. The ethnic Uyghur population subjected to experiments on algorithms capable of detecting people's emotions

(Photo: Greg Baker / Getty Images) After the deportations to the "re-education camps", the Uighur population, an ethnic minority of the China residing in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region, has been subjected to new control mechanisms by the authorities. According to what has been revealed by the BBC, the Beijing government is using video surveillance systems capable of recognizing the emotional state of people, to be able to control their habits and implement preventive measures to contain people deemed "dangerous".

The BBC gathered testimony from a Chinese engineer who allegedly helped install the new video surveillance systems, providing some photographic evidence to support his claims. Neither the name of the engineer nor the name of the company he worked for were published, to protect the safety of the person. "The Chinese government uses Uighurs as guinea pigs for various experiments," said the source, who then told of the installation of cameras in Xinjiang police stations, "very similar to a lie detector, but with much more advanced technology. ".

In the evidence presented to the BBC, the witness showed how the artificial intelligence system is programmed to recognize even the slightest changes in facial expressions and in the pores of the skin. The software would then create a pie chart that represents a negative or anxious state of mind in the red segment. The people on whom the system was tested would have been locked with "metal restraints" at their wrists and ankles in "restraining chairs", often used in Chinese police stations, which would cause anyone to fall into a state of nervousness. This is also why the engineer described the software as programmed to "prejudice".

12 million people of Uyghur ethnicity live in Xinjiang, subjected to pressing daily surveillance and locked up in what Beijing defines as "centers of re-education ”, repeatedly denounced by the international community and human rights groups. The Chinese Embassy in London has not issued any statements regarding the use of emotion control software, but has assured that "the political, economic and social rights and freedom of religious belief of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang are fully guaranteed ”.

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