When a New York Times reporter attempted to visit the center in 2019, he was followed by plainclothes police. A guard pushed him away.
Chinese official media and Sugon’s previous statements describe the complex as a watchdog, among other uses. In August 2017, local officials said the center would support a Chinese police surveillance project called Sharp Eyes and that it could search for 100 million photos in one second. By 2018, according to the company’s revelations, its computers could connect to 10,000 video streams and analyze 1,000 simultaneously, using artificial intelligence.
“Using cloud computing, big data, deep learning and other technologies, the intelligent video analytics engine can integrate data and law enforcement applications from video footage, points of Wi-Fi access, checkpoint information and facial recognition analysis to support the operations of different departments ”within the Chinese police, Sugon said in a 2018 article posted on an official account of social media.
During a visit by local Communist Party leaders to the compound that year, he wrote on his website that computers had “improved thinking from after-the-fact monitoring to predictive policing. before the fact ”.
In Xinjiang, predictive policing is often used as a shortcut for preventive arrests targeting behavior deemed disloyal or threatening to the party. This could include a display of Muslim piety, ties to a family living abroad or owning two phones or not owning a phone, according to Uyghur testimony and official Chinese policy documents.
The technology helps sort through large amounts of data that humans cannot process, said Jack Poulson, former Google engineer and founder of advocacy group Tech Inquiry.