Chinese AI Leader iFlytek Announces Key Partnership While Under Fire for Alleged Surveillance Role

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iFlytek, the Chinese AI and voice recognition giant, has announced an agreement with Chinese internet and mobile security company 360. The companies will work together in six key sectors, including AI technology application and IoT security.

The companies will also focus on internet hardware, network security, intelligent city construction areas and advertising and marketing. They will integrate iFlytek's AI expertise in a variety of products and application scenarios, designed to achieve user growth and efficiency.

Future focus areas will include mobile security services, anti-phishing, app enhancement and sensitive information security monitoring. They also plan to research cloud security technologies, public opinion on security and threat and vulnerability information.

iFlytek made headlines last month when its five-year collaboration agreement with MIT Computer Science and AI Laboratory was terminated due to its technology allegedly being used for human rights abuses in Xinjiang.

The company was one of 28 Chinese businesses and agencies added to a U.S. Commerce Department list of companies "implicated in human rights violations and abuses in the implementation of China's campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs, Kazakhs and other members of Muslim minority groups" in the Xinjiang region, also referred to as Chinese-occupied East Turkestan.

iFlytek allegedly took part in a human surveillance system in the region, using its AI technology as a tool for China's mass repression of the minority groups there. The country has been accused of setting up a large network of concentration camps in the region, with more than one million people being held.

iFlytek's AI system can sift through large volumes of audio and video and identify files that have been copied or reposted, making it useful for monitoring public opinion and trends. On a more sinister note, the collection of voice and video is allegedly being used by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to identify and profile minority groups based on how they speak and what they care about.

The CCP has been expanding its surveillance capabilities throughout the past decade, installing millions of cameras and instituting electronic ID cards and real-name online registration. iFlytek's technology has enabled the integration of audio signals into this vast digital surveillance network.

“iFlytek is contributing to military-civil fusion quite actively,” Elsa Kania, a fellow at the Center for a New American Security in Washington, DC, who studies AI in China, told Wired magazine. “There are elements of the company that pursue consumer applications, but the public security, policing, and defense-oriented applications appear to be significant as well.”




Edited by Maurice Nagle

TechZone360 Contributing Editor

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