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mr-absentia

China's Huawei is driving AI surveillance tools in Africa — Quartz Africa

«At least 75 out of 176 nations surveyed globally are actively using AI technologies for surveillance purposes, according to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. These include facial recognition systems, smart policing tools, and the establishment of safe city platforms. The leading vendors of these systems globally are Chinese firms, led by Huawei, which has supplied these technologies to at least 50 states worldwide.

The study’s author, Steven Feldstein, wrote these tools were being used to “accomplish a range of policy objectives—some lawful, others that violate human rights, and many of which fall into a murky middle ground.”

African countries are still struggling to adopt AI technologies, with the report noting that less than one-quarter of countries investing in these systems. That’s partly explained by the fact the continent is still struggling with internet connectivity.

Yet Chinese companies are quickly penetrating African markets, offering soft loans for governments to purchase their equipment and promising to set up and manage these systems. In Kenya, for instance, Huawei has helped install video systems that deployed 1,800 HD cameras and 200 HD traffic surveillance systems across Nairobi. In Zimbabwe, the Guangzhou-based developer CloudWalk announced a controversial deal in 2018 to oversee a large-scale facial recognition program in collaboration with authorities.

Most of these arrangements have come under scrutiny especially in light of how China harnesses technology for social control—particularly among ethnic Uyghur Muslims in its restive northwestern Xinjiang region.»

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