China tech firms shape new facial recognition and surveillance standards at UN: Report

"Chinese technology companies are shaping new facial recognition and surveillance standards at the UN, according to leaked documents, as they try to open up new markets in the developing world for their cutting-edge technologies," reports the Financial Times in a piece making the rounds on Monday.

The FT article is unfortunately paywall-locked, but here's a post that builds on their reporting, from Engadget:

The report details how Chinese companies including ZTE, Dahua and China Telecom are proposing standards for facial recognition to the UN's International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the body responsible for global technical standards in the telecommunication industry.

Usually, the standards set by the ITU are technical in nature, but human rights campaigners say the proposals under discussion in this case are more like policy recommendations. The standards proposed include recommendations for use cases, suggesting that facial recognition can be used by police, by employers to monitor employees, and for spotting specific targets in crowds.

The concern is that the technical standards will be adopted by developing nations, particularly those in Africa which lack the resources to develop their own standards. That puts China in a position of power to control the market for the technology.

Read more about facial recognition in our Boing Boing archives.

[via Techmeme, PHOTO: CBP. 'U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations, officers take biometric photos of passengers prior to boarding a flight at Houston International Airport on February 12, 2018. Photographer: Donna Burton.' PUBLIC DOMAIN.]