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Report: Out of Control: Failing EU Laws for Digital Surveillance Export

"Out of Control: Failing EU Laws for Digital Surveillance Export", 21 September 2020.

This report gives evidence of the gaps in the current European Union (EU) export regulation framework for digital surveillance technologies and provides the EU institutions and its member states with actionable recommendations to improve the protections of human rights in the upcoming Recast Dual Use Regulation. Amnesty International investigated the exports of digital surveillance technologies from Europe to China, a country that (mis)uses its criminal law system to restrict human rights...

Amnesty International’s investigation revealed that three EU-based companies –Morpho (now Idemia)from France, Axis Communications from Sweden, and Noldus Information Technology from the Netherlands-exported digital surveillance tools to China. These technologies included facial and emotion recognition software, and are now used by Chinese public security bureaus, criminal law enforcement agencies, and/or government-related research institutes, including in the region of Xinjiang. None of the companies fulfilled their human rights due diligence responsibilities for these transactions, as prescribed by international human rights law...

Chapter 4, 'EU-based companies’digital surveillance exportsto China’, ofthis report shows that EU-based companies sold digital surveillance technology to the Chinese government, government-related institutions in the field of criminal enforcementandin some cases toend-usersin Xinjiang. These are the French company Morpho (now Idemia) that providedfacial recognition to the Shanghai Public Security Bureau, the Swedish company 'Axis Communications' that deliveredsurveillancecamerasfor the Skynet and Sharp Eyes projects, and the Dutch company 'Noldus Information Technology' that soldemotion recognition and behaviour analysis toolsto various Chinese bodies, including the ChineseMinistry of Public Security...

The results of this investigations were drawn up in preliminary findings that have been communicated with the companies through investigation letters.Allcompanies provided Amnesty International with details on the transactionsupon requestat this or a later stage of the investigation.Based on all collected material, includingthe responses of the companies.Amnesty International assessed the risks of the business activities that were discovered in the public procurement databases. The findingsrelating to the business activities and the riskswere shared with the companiesand they were invited to respond to them. Where necessary these responses have been included in the results presented in Chapter 4. Amnesty International also engaged in a conversation with one of the named companies....

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