Implicated in Chinese Surveillance Program, Microsoft Denies Official Ties

“…Microsoft has stated that it is not involved in a partnership with SenseNets, and that it has asked the company to remove the Microsoft logo from its website as it had been used without permission.”

Implicated in Chinese Surveillance Program, Microsoft Denies Official Ties

Microsoft is denying that its technology is being used in an intrusive and controversial Chinese surveillance program after being implicated by an independent security researcher.

The Xinjiang surveillance program has come under increasing international scrutiny due to allegations of human rights abuses and its discriminatory basis, with government authorities targeting the region’s Uyghur Muslim population. Such individuals have been subjected to intensifying biometric data collection, with facial recognition playing a large role in the surveillance.

A China-based provider of such facial recognition technology for the program, called SenseNets, lists Microsoft as one of its partners; and, as CNBC reports, security researcher Victor Gevers said he found SenseNets code that appeared to reference facial recognition technology from Microsoft.

In response, Microsoft has stated that it is not involved in a partnership with SenseNets, and that it has asked the company to remove the Microsoft logo from its website as it had been used without permission.

Involvement with SenseNets would be something of a scandal for Microsoft, which has positioned itself as one of the tech industry’s leading voices in calling for government regulation concerning the ethical use of facial recognition technology. But in speaking to to CNBC about the matter, Gevers acknowledged that the Microsoft software references he discovered in SenseNets’ code could have been present due to an individual developer’s use of the technology, rather than any kind of official arrangement between the companies.

Source: CNBC

March 18, 2019 – by Alex Perala