The e-commerce giant Alibaba ended its silence after news of the Chinese-based corporation spying on Uighur minorities and answered the rumor once and for all.
Alibaba said in a statement to Alizila that it was’ dismayed’ that Alibaba Cloud built facial recognition software that uses ethnicity as an attribute for video imagery labeling. In brief, the technical company never wanted to use the invention in such a shady way.
“We never intended our technology to be used for and will not permit it to be used for targeting specific ethnic groups, and we have eliminated any ethnic tag in our product offering. This trial technology was not deployed by any customer. We do not and will not permit our technology to be used to target or identify specific ethnic group,” the statement reads.
The claim that China vehemently opposed its contentious “vocational training programs” imposed upon its ethnic minorities, including Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and others, and most of them are Muslims.
Various reports show that the company’s Chinese website blatantly taught users how to utilize facial recognition technologies to integrate into the cloud service and recognise ethnic minorities.
“An Alibaba Cloud China’s API guide lists ‘is it Uyghur’ (是否是维族) as one of several ‘face attributes’ it can detect,” the report reads.
That said this technology might help the government crack down on the Uighurs, who have been doing so for years in spite of their vehement denial. Alibaba operates YouKu, one of the biggest video-sharing sites in the world, for knowledge only and Weibo, a Chinese-based social networking company, also uses the company’s cloud technology.
Alibaba, though has argued that the invention was primarily used for experimentation and was never applied or taken out of proportion in actual life. The portion of “ethnicity” relates to a feature used during “our technical ability exploration. It was never used outside the testing environment.”
When the IPVM and The New York Post article appeared, the organization immediately pulled off the website where “Uighurs.” is blatantly mentioned.
However, the identification of ethnic minorities is not listed on the international website of Alibaba. Meaning, the technology is still used in mainland China.
Large companies to stand up
Sadly, this is not the first time a Chinese-based tech company has been tossed under the bus for supposedly helping the state discriminate against its Muslim minorities.
Huawei was also illustrated not too long ago by a story from the same website earlier this month, stating that the smartphone giant uses some facial recognition technologies to detect Uighur minorities in other countries.
The starlet of FC Barcelona and French international Antoine Griezmann had developed a deep distrust and agreed following the article to break his commercial relations with Huawei.