China’s surveillance firms defend themselves after US blacklisting

Some of China’s largest surveillance and artificial intelligence (AI) firms have defended themselves after being positioned on a U.S. blacklist and being accused of human rights abuses related to minority Muslims in northwest China.

Just days sooner than the following spherical of commerce talks between the U.S. and China, Washington put 28 Chinese entities on the federal authorities’ so-called Entity List, which restricts these organizations from doing enterprise with American firms. It is an identical blacklist Chinese smartphone maker Huawei was positioned on earlier these 12 months.

The U.S. will add the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau, and 19 “subordinate” institutes to the itemizing along with a number of China’s most valuable surveillance AI firms. These embrace Megvii, SenseTime, Hikvision, and IFLYTEK.

Washington alleged that “these entities have been implicated in human rights violations and abuses in the implementation of China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs, Kazakhs, and other members of Muslim minority groups” in China’s Xinjiang space.

The territory has made headlines for its detention and “re-education” camps that preserve an estimated 1.5 million Muslims, a number of them for violating what Amnesty International describes as a “highly restrictive and discriminatory” law that China says is designed to struggle extremism.

But the Chinese know-how firms have defended their actions.

SenseTime, a corporation reportedly valued at over $7 billion, is one amongst China’s prime AI firms. It moreover has loads of American consumers along with Qualcomm Ventures, Silver Lake Partners and Fidelity.

A group spokesperson suggested CNBC it was “deeply disappointed” by the U.S. authorities’ selection to position it on the Entity List.

“We abide by all relevant laws and regulations of the jurisdictions in which we operate. We have been actively developing our AI code of ethics to ensure our technologies are used in a responsible way. In the meantime, we remain focused on protecting the interests of our customers, partners, investors, and employees,” SenseTime talked about in an announcement.

The agency added that it does “not have any business in, nor are we aware of our technology being used in the Xinjiang region.”

Megvii is a Chinese company, well-known for its facial recognition know-how and reportedly valued over $4 billion. It counts Alibaba amongst its high-profile consumers and the company is gearing up for a preliminary public offering.

A spokesperson suggested CNBC that the company “strongly objects” to being positioned on the Entity List, together with that it derived no revenue from Xinjiang throughout the first half of 2019.

“We are committed to making sure our technology has a positive impact on society and we are in compliance with all laws and regulations in jurisdictions where we operate. We require our clients not to weaponize our technology or solutions or use them for illegal purposes,” Megvii talked about in an announcement.

“Any direct business impact from this designation is expected to be minimal. As of now, there are no changes to Megvii’s ongoing plans.”

FLYTE is one different from China’s AI unicorns and sells voice recognition software program programs and translation devices. The agency talked about that the blacklisting “will not bring significant impact” on it’s on regular basis operations.

“We’ve been working on plans for this situation and will continue to provide our customers with good products and services,” IFLYTEK talked about in a Chinese assertion, translated by CNBC.

“IFLYTEK advocates positive and healthy corporate values comply with laws and regulations, and our technologies are widely used in social areas such as education and medical care. We will actively appeal to the relevant departments of the American government.”

Hikvision, a maker of varied surveillance merchandise along with cameras, talked about it “strongly opposes” the U.S. authorities’ selection.

“Hikvision, as the security industry’s global leader, respects human rights and takes our responsibility to protect people in the U.S. and the world seriously,” the company suggested CNBC in an announcement.

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