A rather shocking development over the past few days in the technology sector has found its way into football as well. Owing to the recent allegations made at Huawei over the development of the Uyghurs Alert software, Barcelona attacker Antoine Griezmann has cut all his ties with the company, formerly a sponsor of his.
“I am taking this opportunity to invite Huawei to not just be happy with denying these accusations but to implement action as quickly as possible to condemn this mass persecution and use its influence to contribute to respecting rights of men and women throughout society,” Griezmann’s Instagram post read regarding the issue.
Huawei have been accused by multiple bodies that Megvii, China’s biggest AI firm, in partnership with themselves, have used the facial recognition to identify a repressed Muslim population in China.
Xinjiang is the Western region of China where a number of Uighur Muslims reside. They are known to be a very oppressed community and have been targeted multiple times by the Chinese. The government has consistently denied any allegations regarding the mistreatment of the Uighur Muslims in the country.
“Systems like Megvii are integrated into the Huawei system so that information and alarms (like on Uyghurs) are generated by Megvii and then sent into the Huawei system so that the monitors (e.g., police) can review and respond,” John Honovich, president of IPVM, told CNBC via email, when he explained the potential functionality of the “Uyghur alert” feature.
This is not something that has started only recently, and there were traces since 2018 that there was some misconduct using the facial recognition software going on. The document was discovered by IPVM, an American company that specialises in analysing video surveillance.
Griezmann’s actions given the resurfacing of the allegations can only be deemed right, and his take on the stance shows that racism and discrimination not only does not have any place in football, but anywhere in the world.