Big brother in onderwijs, deel 3: het verhaal van de wereldbank, gezichtsherkenning, moslims en Chinese scholen

Via de uitstekende mailing van Axios, ontving ik dit verbazingwekkend verhaal:

Chinese schools receiving World Bank loans wanted to buy facial recognition technology for use against Muslims in Xinjiang, according to documents obtained by Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian, Axios’ new China expert.

  • Why it matters: The World Bank loan program in Xinjiang shows the extreme moral hazard facing organizations operating in the region, where China has built a surveillance state and detained more than 1 million ethnic minorities.

A World Bank-funded school unsuccessfully requested a facial-recognition software system to create a “blacklist face database that can be set and armed.”

  • The purpose: “[W]hen blacklisted individuals pass through,” the images could be sent directly to Chinese police.

In more than 8,000 pages of World Bank Chinese-language procurement documents dated June 2017, participants in the loan program requested tens of thousands of dollars to buy facial recognition cameras and software, night-vision cameras, and other surveillance technology for Xinjiang schools.

  • The World Bank told Axios those funds were not provided.
  • A World Bank spokesperson said: “[I]nclusive societies are key to sustainable development, and we take a strong line against discrimination of any kind.”

What happened: In 2015, the World Bank began a loan program providing $50 million over five years to five Xinjiang vocational schools.

  • By 2017, China had blanketed Xinjiang with surveillance tech that it used to force Uighurs and other ethnic minorities into internment camps Beijing calls “vocational training centers.”
  • The World Bank didn’t review or scale back the program at that time.

In August, the loan program came under congressional scrutiny for possible complicity in China’s repression.

  • In November, the World Bank announced it was scaling back the program.
  • But the five original schools continue to receive World Bank funding.

A World Bank spokesperson told Axios that procurement documents had not been translated into English, making oversight difficult because only Chinese-speaking staff could read them.

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