Hikvision and Dahua helped write Chinese police video surveillance standards which include tracking people’s skin color – such as “black”, “yellow” and “brown” – and ethnicity, IPVM has verified.
These standards allow police to search video surveillance footage and mugshot/suspect databases via various ‘personal attributes’, including skin color. The standards are widely mandated by recent Chinese police security camera projects.
The standards also include “ethnicity” tracking, without naming any specific ethnicity. However, evidence found by IPVM indicates “ethnicity” tracking targets Uyghurs and Tibetans specifically.
In this report, IPVM investigates these standards and what they show about PRC police practices.
Reuters validated IPVM’s findings, publishing its own report on this:
Police Standards Explainer
The Chinese government issues detailed standards across all sectors of government, including for the police’s vast security camera networks. Police standards are issued by the Ministry of Public Security but each standard is written by a different mix of government research institutes, police departments, and surveillance companies. While the standards are officially “recommended”, as noted by a supplier of the standards, “‘Recommended’ is not voluntary, it should be treated as ‘mandatory'”.
Race Tracking Revealed
GA/T1400.3—2017 is a national standard for “public security video image information application systems” which includes “skin color” and ethnicity detection as “personal attributes” that police can search databases for (“Ethic” is a misspelling for Ethnic):
This 2017 standard has been mandated in many PRC police video surveillance RFPs:
- Smart Community of Dongcheng District, Beijing (November 2020)
- Guizhou Big Data Standardization System Construction Plan (July 2020)
- Sharp Eyes Project of Yulin county, Shaanxi (July 2019)
- Hubei Police Video Image Sharing project (July 2019)
- Beijing Municipal Police video image project (January 2019)
- Xuhui Branch of Shanghai Police Smart Image Recognition project (January 2019)
Additionally, VMS provider and co-drafter of the standard NetPosa boasted in August 2019 that its platform “passed” the GA/T 1400.3 standard.
Companies which wrote the standard include Uniview, Hikvision, Dahua, Netposa:
Drafting organizations of this section: Science and Technology Information Technology Bureau of the Ministry of Public Security, Zhejiang Public Security Institute of Science and Technology, Zhejiang Uniview Technology Co., Ltd., Zhejiang Liyuan Communication Technology Co., Ltd., the First Research Institute of the Ministry of Public Security, and National Security Alarm System Product Quality Supervision Inspection Center (Beijing), Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co., Ltd., Zhejiang Dahua Technology Co., Ltd., Zhejiang Jieshang Vision Technology Co., Ltd., NetPosa Technology Co., Ltd. [emphasis added]
GA/T 1756-2020 is a national standard for “person image/face recognition applications in video surveillance for public security.” The standard includes “skin color analysis” as part of “face attributes”:
The specific skin colors are “white, black, yellow, brown, other”:
This standard was passed in November 2020 and will come into effect on May 1, 2021 so it has not yet been cited by police projects. Companies which wrote this standard include prominent AI startup Yitu and Kedacom:
This standard was drafted by the Science and Technology Information Bureau of the Ministry of Public Security, the National Engineering Laboratory for Intelligent Analysis and Sharing of Video and Image Information, Beijing Zhongdun Security Technology Development Company, the First Research Institute of the Ministry of Public Security, Shanxi Provincial Public Security Department, Tsinghua University , National Security and Alarm System Product Quality Supervision and Inspection Center (Beijing), Science and Technology Information Division of Yunnan Public Security Department, Lianyungang Public Security Bureau, Jiangsu Province, Suzhou Keda Technology Co., Ltd. [Kedacom], Beijing Shenxing Technology Co., Ltd., Chongqing Zhongkeyun From Technology Co., Ltd. Shanghai Yitu Network Technology Co., Ltd. [emphasis added]
DB41/T 1514—2017 mandates that residential communities have security cameras “clearly recording facial features of people entering and exiting” buildings:
6.4.1 [cameras are installed at] entrances and exits of residential buildings, as well as the entrances and exits of shops and clubs in the community […] should clearly record the facial features of the people entering and exiting and stored in the system in image format
Hikvision and Dahua are listed as co-drafters of this standard:
Drafting organizations of this standard: Zhengzhou Municipal Public Security Bureau, China Academy of Space Technology, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co., Ltd., Zhejiang Dahua Technology Co., Ltd., Henan Huaan Baoquan Intelligent Development Co., Ltd., China Unicom System Integration Co., Ltd. Henan Branch The company, Suzhou Keda Technology Co., Ltd. [Kedacom], Zhengzhou Lanshi Technology Co., Ltd. Zhengzhou BlueEye Tech Technology Co., Ltd. [emphasis added]