The Dutch companies Noldus Information Technology and VicarVision are said to have sold 'emotion recognition software' to the Chinese Ministry of Public Security and a Chinese police academy. De Correspondent writes this on the basis of his own research.
It is about the FaceReader program, which is used to recognize facial expressions and to derive emotions from them. The program can also determine the ethnicity and gender of a person.
A spokesperson for Noldus stated to De Correspondent that the software is only used for "training and education". According to the spokesperson, it is not about face recognition software, but software that is only intended to identify emotions.
The Ministry of Public Security is responsible for the security services of China and in its duties includes the surveillance of Uighurs, a Muslim minority in China. In February, a data breach showed that the Chinese government spies around 2.6 million people in the Xinjiang region, mostly individuals with Islamic names. Face recognition software would be used.
Xinjiang is a troubled region, in which several terrorist attacks have been taking place in recent years. The surveillance of Uighurs falls under China's controversial anti-terrorism policy. German researchers estimate that 1.5 million Uighurs and other Muslims are being held in Chinese detention centers.