Police in China can track protests by enabling 'alarms' on Hikvision software

Descriptions of protest activity listed among the "alarms" include "gathering crowds to disrupt order in public places", "unlawful assembly, procession, demonstration" and threats to "petition", The Guardian reported. These activities are listed alongside offences such as "gambling" or disruptive events such as "fire hazard" in technical documents available on Hikvision's website and flagged to The Guardian by surveillance research firm IPVM, or Internet Protocol Video Market.

Chinese police can set up "alarms" for various protest activities using a software platform provided by Hikvision, a major Chinese camera and surveillance manufacturer, according to a media report.

Descriptions of protest activity listed among the "alarms" include "gathering crowds to disrupt order in public places", "unlawful assembly, procession, demonstration" and threats to "petition", The Guardian reported.

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These activities are listed alongside offences such as "gambling" or disruptive events such as "fire hazard" in technical documents available on Hikvision's website and flagged to The Guardian by surveillance research firm IPVM, or Internet Protocol Video Market.

The company's website also included alarms for "religion" and "Falun Gong" - a spiritual movement banned in China and categorised as a cult by the government - until IPVM contacted the company.

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Also read | Former Uyghur Muslim preacher confirmed dead in prison in China's Xinjiang

The findings come a month after mass protests against the country's zero-Covid policies erupted across China. Though the demonstrations resulted in the government easing restrictions, many protesters later received calls from police.

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The US government has long had its sights set on Hikvision. The company was placed on a commerce department blacklist that restricts the use of federal funds to purchase equipment manufactured by the firm as well as US exports to the surveillance firm for its complicity in human rights violations associated with China's mass incarceration of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities, The Guardian reported.

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