Incident 107: Chinese Tech Firms Allegedly Developed Facial Recognition to Identify People by Race, Targeting Uyghur Muslims

Description: Various Chinese firms were revealed by patent applications to have developed facial recognition capable of detecting people by race, which critics feared would enable persecution and discrimination of Uyghur Muslims.


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Alleged: Huawei , Megvii , SenseTime , Alibaba and Baibu developed an AI system deployed by none, which harmed Uyghur people.

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Sean McGregor, Khoa Lam
Alibaba ‘dismayed’ by its cloud unit’s ethnicity detection algorithm – TechCrunch · 2020

Chinese tech giants have drawn international criticism after research showed they have technologies that enable the authorities to profile Muslim Uyghurs.

The cloud computing unit of Alibaba, Alibaba Cloud, developed a facial recognition al…

Surveillance group exposes disturbing Huawei patent for AI-powered Uighur detection · 2021

A Huawei patent that mentions AI-powered identification of Uighur people and other ethnic groups has been discovered.

The patent was exposed by video surveillance research group IPVM, the same organization that had previously spotted refere…


A "variant" is an incident that shares the same causative factors, produces similar harms, and involves the same intelligent systems as a known AI incident. Rather than index variants as entirely separate incidents, we list variations of incidents under the first similar incident submitted to the database. Unlike other submission types to the incident database, variants are not required to have reporting in evidence external to the Incident Database. Learn more from the research paper.