Data leak reveals China is tracking almost 2.6m people in Xinjiang

Yuan Yang:

China is closely tracking the locations of almost 2.6m people in its north-west region of Xinjiang, where Uighurs and other Muslim minorities are under a police lockdown, a data leak has revealed.

A facial-recognition company and police contractor called SenseNets collected nearly 6.7m GPS co-ordinates in one database in a 24-hour period, according to security researcher Victor Gevers who found the database.

This location data was matched to names — many of which were Uighur — as well as ID numbers, home addresses, photos, and employers, said Mr Gevers, who said he also discovered a large number of organisations were connecting to the database, including police stations, hotels, and various companies.

Over the past two years Beijing has placed more than 1m Muslims in detention in internment camps in Xinjiang, putting the region in lockdown. Beijing argues its policies are to prevent extremism.