According to a US-based think tank, voice samples from “military sensitive regions of India,” such as Jammu & Kashmir and Punjab, are being obtained by a Beijing-based AI business through an Indian middleman and sold to Chinese government organisations for “use and analysis.”
The Beijing-based company, Speechocean, is believed to have close ties to Chinese security agencies and the People’s Liberation Army in a report by New Kite Data Labs, which studies how China uses and exploits data.
It is believed that China may use the information gathered by this company for “automated extra-territorial mass surveillance.”
Speaking to the media, scholar and founder of New Kite Labs Christopher Balding said that Speechocean (SO) partners with a business process outsourcing (BPO) company based in New Delhi to hire people to record their voices from various locations of India, particularly militarised areas.
These individuals receive small payments to record phrases, words, and sentences in their native tongue and accent. Using the Speechocean app, which can be downloaded to your phone, these recordings are gathered. So, without truly disclosing the reason, individuals from Kashmir, Punjab, were identified and provided money to take voice samples. The investigation’s chief investigator, Balding, claimed that these samples were then sold to China.
Balding discusses the effects of sending voice data from India to China.
“Speechocean’s attempts to obfuscate their activity on behalf of the Chinese security agencies raise legitimate security questions and imply this data is used to train technological tools engaged in mass surveillance outside of China,” Balding said.