AI expert re-emerges at top Chinese university as former employer finds Uighur study breached Australian research code
A Chinese academic at the centre of concerns about the use of Australian research has returned to his homeland, amid findings that he failed to obtain ethical approval for research into facial recognition of Chinese minorities.
Another story about China, consent and the Uighurs. The alleged response of the researcher, who returned to China, does nothing to instil confidence that the right thing was done with regards to this area of research. Institutions should seriously reflect upon whether to conduct and/or accept funding for facial recognition or other research that could be used to discriminate or persecute a cultural minority.
Dr Liu co-authored a 2018 paper on “Facial feature discovery for ethnicity recognition”, published in the journal Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery. The paper suggests that analyses of T-shaped regions of people’s faces – the eyebrows, eyes and nose, for example – are “quite effective” for distinguishing ethnicity but unsuitable for general face recognition.
The study was based on facial images of 300 Uighur, Tibetan and Korean students at Dalian Minzu University in northern China. The paper does not explain the purpose of the research, but says that racial analysis based on facial images is a “popular topic” with potential applications in border control and public security.