Unsanctioned Chinese company called Tiandy has raised the eyebrows of human rights activists over its racial detection features and ‘tiger chairs’.
By Dipti Yadav
New Delhi, December 13, 2022
China’s fourth largest CCTV company, Tiandy, continued to thrive unfettered all this time (Representational)
Tiandy, PRC’s fourth largest CCTV company responsible for crackdowns on Uyghurs, managed to stay far from the public eye for so long, as per a report by FDD.
With surveillance companies like Dahua and Hikvision facing sanctions by countries like the US and UK for promoting human rights violations in the Xinjiang region, yet another unsanctioned Chinese company called Tiandy has raised the eyebrows of human rights activists over its racial detection features and ‘tiger chairs’.
A recent statement from the Iranian government over the implementation of automated facial detection technology against the dissenters has solidified further that Tiandy could be one of the operators in the quest in days to come.
Until recently, known Chinese closed-circuit television (CCTV) manufacturers were being targeted by some key nations across the world, including the UK, where PM Rishi Sunak banned the presence of Chinese surveillance cameras around “sensitive regions” just a few weeks prior. Biden followed the same by banning the sale and import of products from several Chinese surveillance companies in the US, including Huawei.
Still and all, China’s fourth largest CCTV company, Tiandy, continued to thrive unfettered all this time, according to a freshly published report by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), which is a Washington, DC-based non-partisan national security and foreign policy research institute established two decades back. Online search results show that Tiandy’s equipment is also available for sale in India.
Founded in 1998, Tiandy boasts itself as having posited seventh in the surveillance field. Its equipment is in use in 60 countries as of now. Intel Corp., a well-known US-based semiconductor firm, lists the company as a partner in the sector of safety and security, also having received accolades for its ‘innovative’ work by the American company.
Of what are called Intelligent Video Analytics (IVA) in the technical terminology, some of Tiandy’s advanced surveillance cameras come equipped with such behaviour analysis features as people counting, crowd detection, missing object detection and even racial detection, one of the pivotal features being used in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) of China by the officials in charge.
As per a 2021 report published by the Uyghur Tribunal on the Uyghur Face Detection (UFD) feature present in popular Chinese CCTV cameras, a Tiandy SDK dated July 2020 included racial detection as one of the detection capabilities of their cameras.
The same company also touts manufacturing “Smart Interrogation Tables” (attached with tiger chairs) especially for adding to the ease of law enforcement, insinuating Uyghur suppression as could be seen in this Human Rights Watch report dating back to 2015.
A simple textual search on a random threat hunting search engine for “Tiandy” shows several hosts across the globe with the top operator being China. Among the top organisations operating on Tiandy products is China Mobile Communications Corporation, the largest telecommunications network operator operating in both the People's Republic of China, and the world.