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Why are US companies buying tech from Chinese firms that spy on Muslims? | Darren Byler

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August 31, 2020 at 01:51PM

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Amazon and IBM get Covid screening systems from companies that use their technology to oppress minority groups

In April 2020, Amazon, the world’s wealthiest technology company, received a shipment of 1,500 heat-mapping camera systems from the Chinese surveillance company Dahua. Many of these systems will be installed in Amazon warehouses to monitor the heat signatures of employees and alert managers if workers exhibit Covid-19-like symptoms. Other cameras included in the shipment will be distributed to IBM and Chrysler, among other buyers.

While Amazon’s move to protect workers from Covid-19 is welcome, it acquired this technology from a company from a company researchers have shown is involved in human rights abuses. As Sanjana Varghese noted recently, the “humanitarian experimentation” work in pandemic surveillance of companies like Dahua doubles as technologies of population management. In north-west China, where Dahua is heavily invested, Dahua’s public health surveillance applications mask its involvement in a system of “terror capitalism” that has placed as many as 1.5 million Muslims in internment camps in the Uighur region in north-west China.

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