US sanctions a Chinese facial recognition firm with Silicon Valley funding

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The US Department of Commerce has sanctioned 14 Chinese tech firms over links to human rights abuses in opposition to Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang, along side one backed by a high Silicon Valley investment firm.

DeepGlint, additionally typically known as Beijing Geling Shentong Records Technology Co., Ltd., is a facial recognition firm with deep ties to Chinese police surveillance, and funding from US-based mostly Sequoia Capital. This day the Commerce Department added it to its Entity Checklist, which restricts US firms from doing alternate with listed firms with out a various license. Sequoia did no longer all of a sudden answer to a demand for comment.

DeepGlint co-founded a facial recognition lab in 2018 with Chinese authorities in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, in line with the South China Morning Post. It has additionally gained world bragging rights via the US Nationwide Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Face Recognition Vendor Test. DeepGlint claimed high accuracy in the take a look at as of January 2021, giving it a potent marketing tool in the safety and surveillance alternate.

While DeepGlint has been accredited for a public providing on Shanghai’s STAR inventory alternate, the firm hasn’t viewed the industrial success of alternative AI startups in the nation, defined Jeffrey Ding in his ChinAI e-newsletter last month. Since the firm is so closely invested in government work, it has to study sluggish government procurement cycles and is unlikely to score big infrastructure projects, Ding writes.

Sequoia Capital has funded one more firm that later ended up on the Entity Checklist. In 2020, Sequoia-backed Yitu Technology change into added to the list for an identical human rights abuses. Sequoia invested in DeepGlint support in 2014, sooner than China’s genocide of Uyghurs had advance to light. (The equal three hundred and sixty five days, Invoice Gates additionally referred to the startup as “very cool,” in line with KrAsia.)

The Commerce Department additionally sanctioned Xinjiang Lianhai Chuangzhi Firm and Chengdu Xiwu Security Machine Alliance, two subsidiaries of Chinese defense drive contractors. They every offer surveillance equipment and services and products, in line with their internet sites and tutorial experiences. Xinjiang Lianhai Chuangzhi Firm created an AI-powered checkpoint blueprint that is able to trace Uyghurs as they mosey around cities, in line with a memoir from the Italian Institute for Worldwide Political Stories.

One more firm sanctioned as of late is Leon Technology, a surveillance firm that change into managed by Chinese AI big SenseTime till its role providing oppressive technology in Xinjiang change into reported in 2019. SenseTime then divested its 51 p.c stake in it.

The Commerce Department sanctions additionally integrated nine other Chinese firms for national security causes, as correctly as firms in Iran, Russia, and Canada, amongst other worldwide locations.