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posted by janrinok on Wednesday December 04 2019, @11:32PM   Printer-friendly

Submitted via IRC for chromas

China Uses DNA to Map Faces, With Help From the West

With a million or more ethnic Uighurs and others from predominantly Muslim minority groups swept up in detentions across Xinjiang, officials in Tumxuk have gathered blood samples from hundreds of Uighurs — part of a mass DNA collection effort dogged by questions about consent and how the data will be used.

In Tumxuk, at least, there is a partial answer: Chinese scientists are trying to find a way to use a DNA sample to create an image of a person's face.

The technology, which is also being developed in the United States and elsewhere, is in the early stages of development and can produce rough pictures good enough only to narrow a manhunt or perhaps eliminate suspects. But given the crackdown in Xinjiang, experts on ethics in science worry that China is building a tool that could be used to justify and intensify racial profiling and other state discrimination against Uighurs.

In the long term, experts say, it may even be possible for the Communist government to feed images produced from a DNA sample into the mass surveillance and facial recognition systems that it is building, tightening its grip on society by improving its ability to track dissidents and protesters as well as criminals.

Some of this research is taking place in labs run by China's Ministry of Public Security, and at least two Chinese scientists working with the ministry on the technology have received funding from respected institutions in Europe. International scientific journals have published their findings without examining the origin of the DNA used in the studies or vetting the ethical questions raised by collecting such samples in Xinjiang.

[...]Sketching someone's face based solely on a DNA sample sounds like science fiction. It isn't.

The process is called DNA phenotyping. Scientists use it to analyze genes for traits like skin color, eye color and ancestry. A handful of companies and scientists are trying to perfect the science to create facial images sharp and accurate enough to identify criminals and victims.

The Maryland police used it last year to identify a murder victim. In 2015, the police in North Carolina arrested a man on two counts of murder after crime-scene DNA indicated the killer had fair skin, brown or hazel eyes, dark hair, and little evidence of freckling. The man pleaded guilty.

Despite such examples, experts widely question phenotyping's effectiveness. Currently, it often produces facial images that are too smooth or indistinct to look like the face being replicated. DNA cannot indicate other factors that determine how people look, such as age or weight. DNA can reveal gender and ancestry, but the technology can be hit or miss when it comes to generating an image as specific as a face.

Phenotyping also raises ethical issues, said Pilar Ossorio, a professor of law and bioethics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The police could use it to round up large numbers of people who resemble a suspect, or use it to target ethnic groups. And the technology raises fundamental issues of consent from those who never wanted to be in a database to begin with.

"What the Chinese government is doing should be a warning to everybody who kind of goes along happily thinking, 'How could anyone be worried about these technologies?'" Dr. Ossorio said.


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  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 04 2019, @11:54PM (27 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 04 2019, @11:54PM (#928285)

    This sort of technology belongs in the hands of good, clean God-fearing companies like Google and Facebook.

    • (Score: 1, Troll) by Ethanol-fueled on Thursday December 05 2019, @12:04AM (25 children)

      by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Thursday December 05 2019, @12:04AM (#928288) Homepage

      We've all seen what happens whenever you let Muslims do whatever the hell they want -- *Stab-stab Kaboom!* Religions such as Islam even in modern times only understand the fist, nothing else. Here [youtube.com] is a Youtube vid of a Muslim wedding, even when too poor to afford machine guns, they'll gladly have dancing knife-fights like you see in West Side Story or Michael Jackson's Beat It.

      The real test for China will be to see if its people are capable enough to avoid Jewish infiltration in the coming decades. And that's surely what will happen now that Israel is increasingly cozying up to China with the upcoming Belt and Road initiative. The Chinese may have outlawed tattoos and rap music, but you just watch -- in another decade or two they'll be walking around with their pants hanging off their asses sporting eyebrow piercings bumping the music of D.J. JiggaStein driving in their $1000 economy cars with $3000 gold rims.

      • (Score: 0, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 05 2019, @12:48AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 05 2019, @12:48AM (#928297)

        Q: How do you identify the bride at a Muslim wedding?
        A: She's the one with the cloud of flies hovering around her.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 05 2019, @06:16AM (17 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 05 2019, @06:16AM (#928374)

        More whiny democrat bullshit

        Fuck the Uighurs [voanews.com]! China's proximity to the Syria problem gives them good reason to be proactive.

        • (Score: 2, Insightful) by khallow on Thursday December 05 2019, @11:39AM (16 children)

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday December 05 2019, @11:39AM (#928420) Journal

          China's proximity to the Syria problem

          2000 miles give or take. That's pretty damn far particularly for a destination country that's not immigrant friendly.

          It's interesting how evil is justified on the flimsiest of pretexts. It's not even trying.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 05 2019, @08:26PM (15 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 05 2019, @08:26PM (#928582)

            2000 miles of comparatively easy overland travel. It's not like they have a 3000 mile wide moat filled with snakes and alligators, and sharks to protect them. But, your arrogant and ignorant propaganda is expected.

            And you of all people should not be condemning the "evil" of others. China isn't the one in the regime change business. They "invade" with infrastructure projects, not mafia hired terrorist mercenaries.

            • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday December 06 2019, @01:36AM (14 children)

              by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday December 06 2019, @01:36AM (#928707) Journal

              2000 miles of comparatively easy overland travel.

              Desert, some of the highest mountain ranges around, etc. It's better than snakes and alligators since you don't need to feed them or put water in the moat.

              And you of all people should not be condemning the "evil" of others. China isn't the one in the regime change business. They "invade" with infrastructure projects, not mafia hired terrorist mercenaries.

              I think I should here, since you're not getting it. China has done so with Tibet for a glaring example. And I imagine we'll see more of the usual superpower stuff as their global power increases. Who knows, maybe even the mafia hired terrorist mercenaries will get a chance to spend some Yuan.

              What's interesting here is your attack on Uighurs because they're Islamic. They're just stuck in an unjust situation.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 06 2019, @03:11AM (13 children)

                by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 06 2019, @03:11AM (#928725)

                What's interesting here is your attack on Uighurs because they're Islamic.

                As usual, you are wrong again, it's because they are terrorists.

                What's interesting here is your support for Uighurs because of China. But then you don't have any problems with terrorists who will do business with the "West".

                • (Score: 1) by khallow on Saturday December 07 2019, @04:00AM (12 children)

                  by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday December 07 2019, @04:00AM (#929285) Journal

                  As usual, you are wrong again, it's because they are terrorists.

                  And "terrorists" means what?

                  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 08 2019, @07:15AM (11 children)

                    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 08 2019, @07:15AM (#929646)

                    They are jihadis working alongside Al Qaeda in Syria. They are the new emerging Taliban like terrorist, probably financed by the "west" to harass China. I hope China can contain the problem. The world doesn't need any more of your destruction.

                    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday December 09 2019, @07:25AM (10 children)

                      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday December 09 2019, @07:25AM (#929977) Journal
                      All you can say is that there's some small number of Uyghurs in Syria and "hoping" that China can contain a nonexistent problem. And then babbling about "destruction".

                      You're just another toxic personality on the internet. Don't care that you don't like Islamic, it wouldn't make you any worse.
                      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 10 2019, @01:56AM (9 children)

                        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 10 2019, @01:56AM (#930414)

                        Nothing to do with "Islamic". That's your bullshit to rile people up. These are terrorists in armed struggle, financed by you people in order to spread destabilization into the far east.

                        • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday December 10 2019, @06:26AM (8 children)

                          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday December 10 2019, @06:26AM (#930478) Journal

                          Nothing to do with "Islamic".

                          I don't buy it particularly when you blather about jihadis and Al Qaeda. Instead, I bet that's exactly why they're getting the pointy end of your scorn.

                          These are terrorists in armed struggle, financed by you people in order to spread destabilization into the far east.

                          What terrorists? What armed struggle? You just mentioned a few in Syria. I don't see how this imaginary destabilization is any worse than the real world one where China imprisons vast numbers of Uyghur.

                          This thread is a great example of how a people can be tarred and horrid crimes rationalized on the flimsiest of pretexts. I judge people by their actions not some bullshit that an AC pulled out of their ass.

                          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 10 2019, @08:15AM (7 children)

                            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 10 2019, @08:15AM (#930492)

                            Nah, you just repeat bullshit propaganda that fits your story line. The links prove my point.

                            I don't buy it particularly when you blather about jihadis and Al Qaeda.

                            That's not Islam, they're just mercenaries paid by various governments including yours. The Islam thing is you as the presumptuous person you are! More of your propaganda.

                            • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday December 10 2019, @03:53PM (6 children)

                              by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday December 10 2019, @03:53PM (#930612) Journal
                              Looks like my spellchecker prefer Uighur to Uyghur, so I'll go with that.

                              Nah, you just repeat bullshit propaganda that fits your story line. The links prove my point.

                              It's interesting how hard people project around here. Only link I saw was to a few soldiers/mercenaries/"terrorists" in Syria. That's nothing. From that link:

                              The TIP declared an Islamic emirate in Idlib in late November and has largely remained off the radar of authorities and the media thanks to its low profile. Founded in 2008 in the northwestern Chinese region of Xinjiang, the TIP has been one of the major extremist groups in Syria since the outbreak of the civil war in the country in 2011.

                              The TIP is primarily made up of Uighur Muslims from China, but in recent years it also has included other jihadi fighters within its ranks.

                              [...] At the peak of the Syrian conflict in 2013, there reportedly were an estimated 3,000 TIP fighters across the country, mainly in Idlib, Aleppo, Hama, Homs and the northern part of Latakia province. Their numbers, however, have significantly declined because of major military advances by the Syrian regime troops, backed by Russia and Iran.

                              Only 3,000 people at peak and now they're in decline. So much for your alleged threat. Meanwhile in the main story, we're hearing of a million Uighur imprisoned.

                              I don't buy it particularly when you blather about jihadis and Al Qaeda.

                              That's not Islam, they're just mercenaries paid by various governments including yours. The Islam thing is you as the presumptuous person you are! More of your propaganda.

                              Right. Sorry, you used Islam-specific terms and then claim it's not about Islam. Who else has jihadis, for example? You already gave the game away.

                              And why the concern that a handful of Uighur are fighting in Syria? Should we be equally concerned about the handful of Russians (which is somewhat more BTW) fighting in the area?

                              My view is simply that you don't punish a vast number of innocent people for the crimes of a handful of guilty. But I grant the present accusation of Chinese mass imprisonment by ethnicity might be exaggerated, but that's still low grade genocide.

                              Sure, I get you've rationalized that somehow the innocent are guilty - I've seen that game. It remains wrong and evil since it's resulted in the defense of terrible crimes. People are good and evil by their actions not their ethnicity, not their beliefs.

                              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 10 2019, @04:51PM (5 children)

                                by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 10 2019, @04:51PM (#930641)

                                My view is simply that you don't punish a vast number of innocent people for the crimes of a handful of guilty.

                                Yet you vote for war every time. You have killed a lot more people than the jihadis have. Looks like you're doing the genocide. Who's the terrorist?

                                I've seen that game.

                                You ARE that game!

                                Your point of view is singular and invalidates everything you say. You are a simple mouthpiece, a recording played back over the loudspeaker

                                • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday December 10 2019, @08:57PM (4 children)

                                  by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday December 10 2019, @08:57PM (#930773) Journal

                                  Yet you vote for war every time.

                                  Irrelevant even if it were true. The alleged sins and resulting punishment of the Uighur are completely independent from the warmongering of my country.

                                  In particular, it's funny how because I'm supposed to be a warmonger, the Uighur should suffer. This is the continuing absurdity of your beliefs and views.

                                  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 11 2019, @04:39AM (3 children)

                                    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 11 2019, @04:39AM (#930955)

                                    In particular, it's funny how because I'm supposed to be a warmonger, the Uighur should suffer.

                                    The stories you repeat are lies. Again, you are just being a non-responsive mouthpiece for war mongering liars. Cui bono?

                                    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday December 11 2019, @02:55PM (2 children)

                                      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday December 11 2019, @02:55PM (#931056) Journal

                                      The stories you repeat are lies.

                                      Including yours?

                                      Again, you are just being a non-responsive mouthpiece for war mongering liars.

                                      Projection.

                                      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 11 2019, @05:40PM (1 child)

                                        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 11 2019, @05:40PM (#931141)

                                        Projection = "I know you are, but what am I?"

                                        Well, I'm rubber you're glue, bounces off me, and sticks to you!... Actually, I'm a mirror.

                                        Cool, you finally ran out of bullshit. No further response is needed.

                                        • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday December 12 2019, @03:43PM

                                          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday December 12 2019, @03:43PM (#931418) Journal
                                          And now you're signaling that you're out of argument. My position remains the same. I will never damn a people merely because they have the wrong beliefs or some minute part fights on the wrong side. I'll note also that coming up with such flimsy excuses is standard warmongering 101. That is why, when you then accuse me without even the slightest basis in reality of "vote for war every time", you're engaging in a ridiculous display of hypocrisy and projection. You've already got the war and tyranny excuses lined up for the Uighur even though they didn't do a thing to deserve it.
      • (Score: 2) by Bot on Thursday December 05 2019, @06:18AM (3 children)

        by Bot (3902) on Thursday December 05 2019, @06:18AM (#928375) Journal

        Not an expert but IIRC Islam is not about a slew of killing of peasants. Assassination (Arabic word) is meant to attack the leadership of the oppositions/obstacles so they are careful and targeted, mafia style. For the masses they prefer to win the demographic battle. This is why they hide behind the word 'Peace' until they have enough people to 'democratically' act. Only then, when you have seized power with nothing else than wombs and a few bought politicians, terror may become a feasible strategy.

        So ISIS and radicals might well be trolling Islam. Not that it matters in the long term.

        --
        Account abandoned.
        • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 05 2019, @01:36PM (2 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 05 2019, @01:36PM (#928447)

          It's in my opinion, about the 72. A Muslim who dies in Jihad is guaranteed a ticket to heaven. And 72 virgins as well as 80,000 servants are described as but the smallest of gifts awaiting him.

          Take all of our Twittertards who love to find outrage at everything because their lives are pretty much empty, meaningless, and boring otherwise. And now imagine you started convincing them that if they went Aloha Snackbar and killed some random people, and died in the act of it, that they'd have their very fantasy and desire fulfilled for all of eternity. Suddenly the spectacle of upper middle class whities running around blowing themselves up would make the entire country light up like the 4th of July. This is also why it's generally so easy to bait Muslims into violence with things like a draw Muhammad day or burning a Quran. There are a decent number that would love to die in defense of the religion.

          This is also the reason that when you see a Muslim decide to go Aloha Snackbar he will do everything to ensure he dies in the process of it. For instance fake suicide vests are becoming quite common. And there's no doubt that a big motivation there is to try to ensure that they're killed in the act of Snackbarring. For instance the London Bridge stabber probably put on an Oscar Worthy performance to ensure he got some lead in the head, even though he was already fully detained and restrained.

          • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Thursday December 05 2019, @05:51PM (1 child)

            by DeathMonkey (1380) on Thursday December 05 2019, @05:51PM (#928528) Journal

            Take all of our Twittertards who love to find outrage at everything because their lives are pretty much empty, meaningless, and boring otherwise. And now imagine you started convincing them that if they went Aloha Snackbar and killed some random people, and died in the act of it, that they'd have their very fantasy and desire fulfilled for all of eternity.

            I don't need to imagine it:

            Right-Wingers Are America’s Deadliest Terrorists [slate.com]

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 05 2019, @07:06PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 05 2019, @07:06PM (#928554)

              Two things there.

              Most data like that are intentionally flubbed pretty hard. This is no exception. Fortunately the site is kind enough to link to their source. Here [newamerica.org] it is. "Far right wing terrorism" includes:

                - some bikers killing a guy and hiding his body
                - some guys killing a guard during a bank robbery
                - 2 police killed during a bank robbery
                - a couple of guys decided to go kill a sex offender
                - guy killed another guy at a gun range to steal his gun
                - etc etc

              Some of the acts were done in pursuit of what could have ended up as terrorism. For instance the guy who stole the gun at the gun range claimed he belonged to some secret society and they were going to overthrow the government with his new gun. But the murder itself was obviously not terrorism by any stretch of the imagination. In general their definition of "far right wing terrorism" seems to lack any self consistency, let alone any consistency with any normal definition of terrorism.

              Outside of intentional data flubbing, it's also statistical butchery. Muslims make up 1% of Americans. All other things being equal, they should be responsible for 1% of attacks. If they've finally hit parity with America, at large, then that means 1% of people being responsible for as much death as 99% of people. So they, as a group, are only 9900% more likely to murder somebody in an act of terrorism than the rest of society. Yay...?

      • (Score: 2) by Pav on Thursday December 05 2019, @08:38AM

        by Pav (114) on Thursday December 05 2019, @08:38AM (#928396)

        Remember when the mujahadeen were heroes against the soviets? They always were muslim southern baptist equivalents, so why not set them against actual southern baptists and other god botherers (the poorer the better)? That's certainly a profitable enterprise. The US government funds both sides, as do the Saudis etc... fools take it seriously, and their betters collect the profits.

      • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Thursday December 05 2019, @03:53PM

        by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Thursday December 05 2019, @03:53PM (#928489) Journal

        We've all seen what happens whenever you let Muslims do whatever the hell they want -- *Stab-stab Kaboom!*

        Religion is the best way to heal a world deeply and violently divided by religion.

        --
        To transfer files: right-click on file, pick Copy. Unplug mouse, plug mouse into other computer. Right-click, paste.
    • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Thursday December 05 2019, @05:47PM

      by DeathMonkey (1380) on Thursday December 05 2019, @05:47PM (#928523) Journal

      This sort of technology belongs in the hands of good, clean God-fearing companies like Google and Facebook.

      The difference is that we can regulate Facebook/Google if we want. China, not so much.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 04 2019, @11:57PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 04 2019, @11:57PM (#928287)

    Wait until he detonates his suicide vest and then scrape a DNA sample off the wall.

    • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Thursday December 05 2019, @03:57PM

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Thursday December 05 2019, @03:57PM (#928495) Journal

      Could an AI be trained to recognize image features suggesting someone is wearing a suicide bomb vest?

      --
      To transfer files: right-click on file, pick Copy. Unplug mouse, plug mouse into other computer. Right-click, paste.
  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by krishnoid on Thursday December 05 2019, @12:48AM (1 child)

    by krishnoid (1156) on Thursday December 05 2019, @12:48AM (#928296)
    • You could just direct them to what IBM did for the Nazis [wired.com] in WWII
    • On the other hand, the technology itself isn't incarcerating people yet
    • But you could easily spread the rumor that "This is some of the technology they used to identify and track Sarah/John Connor" and see how many people believe it
    • And on the third hand, narrowing down suspects maybe means cops in some countries won't stop every single [ethnic] person based on a vague description -- or maybe they still will

    I think they should just use it as part of a joint marketing campaign for the next Terminator movie.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 05 2019, @04:49AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 05 2019, @04:49AM (#928357)

      The entire point of the exercise is to enable and justify police cracking down harder on minorities. That is also why the West is interested, our political masters here are jealous of such power.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 05 2019, @01:18AM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 05 2019, @01:18AM (#928304)

    It would be a shame if the image turned out to be goatse

    • (Score: 2) by Bot on Thursday December 05 2019, @06:21AM (1 child)

      by Bot (3902) on Thursday December 05 2019, @06:21AM (#928377) Journal

      it would be a shame if such image were accurate nonetheless.

      --
      Account abandoned.
      • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Thursday December 05 2019, @03:55PM

        by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Thursday December 05 2019, @03:55PM (#928492) Journal

        AIs can now generate realistic looking random faces. I won't mention goatse.

        --
        To transfer files: right-click on file, pick Copy. Unplug mouse, plug mouse into other computer. Right-click, paste.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 05 2019, @01:50AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 05 2019, @01:50AM (#928310)

    If so, Nobel prizes for all involved.

  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 05 2019, @01:51PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 05 2019, @01:51PM (#928454)

    prosperity is the enemy of religion ...?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 05 2019, @04:55PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 05 2019, @04:55PM (#928505)

      We've been saying this for decades. But look around! There aren't many countries that are wealthier, per capita than the US. But among them are Qatar (richest country in the world as well), Brunei, and Kuwait. Saudi Arabia is just a hair's breadth behind us as well. I don't understand why people cannot see that what's driving so many of the changes around the world, good and bad, is culture. China was mostly hyper-secular even when it was dirt poor. It's because they had a culture of secularity. Many mideastern nations have grown incredibly wealthy, and even have dramatically increased their educational attainment levels as well - still pretty the same old nutso hardcore Islam as before.

      The whole notion that education + wealth naturally trends towards liberalism + secularity is a pipedream.

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