Zimbabwe Government Is Sending Our Faces To China So China’s Artificial Intelligence System Can Learn To See Black Faces

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It seems the new dispensation is on a deal making spree that shows no signs of stopping. Zimbabwe is reported to have entered into a deal with CloudWalk, a Chinese facial recognition Start Up that is based in Gunagzhou. The deal will see the creation of a large-scale facial recognition program throughout the country.

The deal was signed in March of this year. The collected data will be used by security and law enforcement agents within Zimbabwe presumably to fight crime and not further violate our rights since the technology comes with the scary ability to be able to recognize faces as well as track the movements of an individual using Artificial Intelligence.

What is China getting out of the deal

Although they are often touted as our friends by the ruling elite of this country, China is not doing this out of good of its own heart. Part of the provisions of the deal will see Zimbabwe sending biometric data on millions of its people to China to help train CloudWalk’s artificial intelligence (AI) programs to recognize faces with darker skin tones.

This data of our faces and what not  will not only enhance the Chinese government’s own policing capabilities using the tech, but will also make the tech useful and more attractive to African autocrats who will no doubt use it to enhance their political positions by hounding opponents.

Experience has shown that due to shortage of data, Artificial Intelligence systems often struggle with recognizing  and processing black faces. An infamous example is when Google’s AI driven Google Photos cloud system labelled black people as gorillas.

We didn’t have a say in this deal

I am not a legal expert especially in matters of the Constitution but I would imagine the people of Zimbabwe ought to have been consulted before a deal of such magnitude was concluded. This is especially concerning given the fact that the government will be essentially exporting our images/likeness and the kind of power this tool gives to a government with a spotty record when it comes to civil liberties.

The benefits of using the database and technology to fight crime are far outweighed by the dangers the system poses to individual freedoms.

Also Read: Zimbabwe Entering Cybersecuity Deal With Japan


  1. mrevi

    ikoko variko wani vatema

    1. Garikai Dzoma

      Not in sufficient numbers. AI needs as much training data as possible.


    This is Scary as the lingo says

  3. Sagitarr

    Is this the same government that, through ZEC, denied the opposition the voter’s roll, citing issues of “security”? They trust the Chinese government more than Zimbabwean citizens? What progress can ever come from such twisted myopic logic?

  4. Anonymous

    Do you know the real reason that why China needs these data?

  5. Anonymous

    You only talked and worried about the data exporting result but never explained the reason behind it. Of course it’s not right that Zimbabwe government didn’t consult the public before sending the face data to China(if it’s truth), but China needs these data for a reason. There are nearly half a million Africans living in Guangzhou of China, including lots of Zimbabwean, however, quit a lot of them are becoming criminals. They rob, rape, steal and even traffic in narcoties in China. Frankly to say, they are gangsters and mobs. That’s why China’s law enforcement agency needs the data to develop AI models to fight against these illegal African criminals. Trust me, we don’t have any interests in collecting African face data.

    1. Garikai Dzoma

      It is customary to exagerate the threat posed by foreign nationals. No one is doubting the value of the system when it comes to fighting crime. It would be naive to think that this will be the primary purpose of the system. China and it’s African friends have a healthy fear of “dissidents” . The number of Africans living in China is so small even if they are criminals among them it can be easily policed using normal methods. This is about creating an AI that can be sold to revolutionary parties so they can keep their grip on power. It is reprehensible that all is this being achieved by needlessly violating our rights

    2. Potato AI

      Oh my gosh! This is the first time I’ve seen the (in)famous 50 cent Army in action so close to home! Do you guys really get 50c? Is 50 Cent your foreign liaison? Your english is excellent too. Do you get special language training in-house or did you get recruited because of your proficiency? How come you’re on this side of the net? Are you part of an African web task force? Is there an actual African web task force?? Wait wait wait! Can you literally see how well you convinced me to suck it coz Africans are looting and raping in China??? I don’t know man, I think your 50c would have been better spent on deflecting the Uyghur suppression and elimination issue than telling me to be cool with you exporting your tools of repression to target me in my own nation.

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