Alibaba ‘dismayed’ by its cloud unit’s ethnicity detection algorithm – TechCrunch

Alibaba ‘dismayed’ by its cloud unit’s ethnicity detection algorithm – TechCrunch

Chinese language tech giants have drawn worldwide criticism after analysis confirmed they’ve applied sciences that allow the authorities to profile Muslim Uyghurs.

The cloud computing unit of Alibaba, Alibaba Cloud, developed a facial recognition algorithm that may establish an individual’s ethnicity or whether or not an individual is “Uyghur”, in keeping with research from surveillance trade publication IPVM.

China has repeatedly defended its controversial “vocational training programs” imposed upon its Muslim ethnic minorities, together with Uyghurs, Kazakhs and others, as a part of what the federal government calls counter-terrorism efforts.

Alibaba said in a press release that it’s “dismayed” to be taught that Alibaba Cloud examined a know-how that included “ethnicity as an algorithm” and that “racial or ethnic discrimination or profiling in any type violates Alibaba’s insurance policies and values.”

“We by no means supposed our know-how for use for and won’t allow it for use for focusing on particular ethnic teams, and we now have eradicated any ethnic tag in our product providing. This trial know-how was not deployed by any buyer. We don’t and won’t allow our know-how for use to focus on or establish particular ethnic teams,” the corporate added.

A safety breach from final yr revealed {that a} “good metropolis” surveillance system hosted on Alibaba Cloud might detect folks’s ethnicity or label them Uyghur Muslim, TechCrunch reported earlier. On the time, Alibaba mentioned as a public cloud supplier, it “doesn’t have the precise to entry the content material within the buyer database.”

IPVM additionally found earlier this month that Huawei and synthetic intelligence unicorn Megvii, identified for its facial recognition product Face++, collectively developed a know-how that might alert the Chinese language authorities when the system detected the face of a member from the Uyghur group.

As China’s tech upstarts search abroad progress, they more and more discover themselves caught between the calls for of Beijing and worldwide scrutiny over their stance on human rights points.

Cloud computing is one in every of Alibaba’s fastest-growing segments and the enormous is eyeing to draw extra worldwide prospects. Final yr, Alibaba Cloud was the largest participant within the Asia Pacific area and the third-largest Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) supplier globally, according to analysis agency Gartner.

Alibaba’s cloud unit grew 60% year-over-year to account for practically 10% of the agency’s revenues within the three months ended September. As of the quarter, roughly 60% of A-share listed firms, these which can be based mostly in mainland China and commerce in RMB, are prospects of Alibaba Cloud, the corporate claimed.

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