19:21 GMT30 May 2020
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    In October 2019, Washington put several Chinese artificial intelligence firms on its Entity List in order to restrict their access to US technology, the same blacklist the Chinese firm Huawei is on.

    CNBC has cited a Top10VPN report as saying Amazon and Microsoft are among a spate of US companies that have been named as firms providing "essential web services that power" the websites of Chinese surveillance companies accused of human rights abuses.

    Top10VPN is a website that reviews virtual private network (VPN) services and deals with privacy-related issues.

    Simon Migliano, head of research at Top10VPN, was quoted by CNBC as saying that "through providing essential web services to these controversial companies, US firms are playing a part in the proliferation of highly invasive surveillance products that have the potential to undermine human rights around the world".

    He claimed that "despite the Trump administration's efforts to decouple the American and Chinese technology sectors, the continued presence of American companies in more discreet settings shows that cooperation between the two remains".

    Top10VPN notes that Amazon was allegedly providing web services to Dahua Technology and Hikvision, while Microsoft’s services were reportedly being used by the Chinese artificial intelligence start-ups SenseTime and Megvii.

    Also, Top10VPN points out that while Google "does use CDN technology to deliver certain publicly available resources" mentioned in the report, "it is not accurate to suggest an active relationship between them on this basis".

    All the US companies singled out in the document have declined to comment on the matter.

    The report comes after these Chinese surveillance firms were blacklisted by the White House in October 2019 for alleged human rights violations in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. In an August 2018 report, UN experts on the elimination of racial discrimination said that up to 1 million ethnic Uighurs are thought to be detained in so-called re-education camps.

    Beijing has repeatedly denied the existence of such camps, claiming that the unsubstantiated accusations are connected to what it insists are vocational colleges set up as part of counter-terrorist efforts in the region.

    The Chinese artificial intelligence companies were put on the same blacklist as Huawei, a crackdown that was unleashed by Washington against China's tech giant in May 2019.

    At the time, the US Department of Commerce has prohibited internet providers from using the company's products and American tech companies from selling technologies to the Chinese tech titan without obtaining a special license first.

    The White House claims that the company is collaborating with the Chinese government to allow it to spy on those who use the firm's equipment, allegations that have been rejected by both Beijing and Huawei.

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    blacklist, restrictions, Huawei, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, China, United States
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