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China's iFlyTech Voice Recognition used to Collect audio fingerprints

     
3:48 pm on Dec 5, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I knew it was coming, and already exists, but it is still uncomfortable. There are only 2 major mobile phone companies in China: China Telecom and China Mobile. To buy a sim card you need to provide ID: either a residence permit (hukou) for Chinese citizens or passport for foreigners.

China Mobile owns iFlyTech, a voice recognition company, and preloads their software onto their phones. If you have or use a China Mobile phone (one is on my desk as we speak), you should pay attention.

IFlyTek is portrayed in the Chinese media both as a technology innovator and as an ally of the government. Last year iFlyTek helped prevent the loss of about $75 million in telecommunications fraud by helping the police target scammers,..

Where iFlyTek gets its data is not clear. But one of its owners is China Mobile, the state-controlled cellular network giant, which has more than 800 million subscribers. IFlyTek preloads its products on millions of China Mobile phones and runs the hotline service for China Mobile,...

“The Chinese government has been collecting the voice patterns of tens of thousands of people with little transparency about the program or laws regulating who can be targeted or how that information is going to be used,” Sophie Richardson, Human Rights Watch’s China director, wrote in a report in October.

In its home province of Anhui, iFlyTek has assembled a database of 70,000 voice patterns, according to the report, which also said that the police had begun collecting records of voice patterns as they would fingerprints. The report cited as one example three women suspected of being sex workers whose voices were registered in a database, it said, in part because they had been arrested in Anhui.

The local Chinese media has also reported about a new plan in Anhui to scan voice calls automatically for the voice-prints of wanted criminals, and alert the police if they are detected...source [nytimes.com]


This tech is being installed into cars in China. Some of these manufacturers are global companies.
4:51 am on Apr 4, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Related? I've always been suspicious of the proliferation of Huawei. The US gov't recently blocked a takeover Huawei was attempting on a mobile network, but their phones are a big seller at Walmart, including Walmart Family Mobile Service Plans.