CHINA: LEADING THE WAY IN SURVEILLANCE


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By the end of 2021, there will be over a billion security cameras in use worldwide. Last Thursday, IHS Markit, a data analysis company, reported that installations of security cameras will increase over 30 percent over the next two years and that China would account for a little over half the total.
The largest manufacturers of facial recognition cameras are located in China, where they have been installed on high-traffic street corners to manage traffic, monitor potential crimes, and keep an eye on minorities.
China has come under particular criticism for its treatment of Uighurs, a Muslim minority in the western province of Xinjiang.
Using DNA blood sampling along with the surveillance technology, Chinese authorities have identified more than one million Uighurs and other Muslim minorities.  It has been reported they have been put into internment camps, which Beijing has denied.
Data Sold, Not Stolen
Washington continues to denounce the Chinese government for stealing U.S. technology. In fact, from hi-tech to heavy industry, western corporations have sold and/or given it away following China’s introduction into the World Trade Organization in 2001, so they could set up manufacturing plants and do business in the burgeoning 1.4 billion People’s Republic.
On the new hi-tech surveillance level, western scientists and tech companies such as IBM and Cisco provide surveillance technologies to China and other countries, as have major tech companies in France, Germany, Israel, and Japan.
Backlash
This past October, there was a public push back in London following the discovery of widespread surveillance technology being used at a major commercial real estate site, which led to the developers shutting down the cameras.
In the U.S., there are already over 70 million surveillance cameras installed at schools, malls, and offices in a stated attempt to increase public safety.
But San Francisco, Oakland, and Somerville, MA have banned police from using these cameras, citing mistaken identities.
While the new spying technology is being marketed as a “public safety” tool, research identified numerous examples of facial recognition developed by Microsoft, IBM, and others making mistakes identifying people of certain races.
Further evidence of the technology’s failures include Amazon trying to sell police departments its facial recognition version that mistakenly matched 28 members of congress with police mug shots.
Congresswoman Ayanna S. Pressley of Massachusetts, who is sponsoring legislation to ban this technology in federally funded housing developments, said recently, “We can’t continue to expand the footprint of a technology and the reach of it when there are no guardrails for these emerging technologies to protect civil rights.”
In Illinois, a law has been passed that forces companies to first get permission from customers before gathering information from surveillance technology.
A school system in western New York State announced plans to install a $1.4 million surveillance system, but the NYS Education Department requested a delay for further study of potential issues, and a bill has been introduced in the state assembly to stop use of surveillance cameras until more research is done.
Proliferation Continues Worldwide
But despite public outcry and civic concerns in western countries, the trend of increasing surveillance technology on a global scale is clear.
At least 75 countries are actively employing computer technologies to monitor its citizens.  In addition to facial recognition, this includes policies known as “smart policing” and “smart traffic”… a 21st century version of former Mayor of NY, now Democratic candidate in the Presidential Reality Show, Mike Bloomberg’s “stop and frisk” police policies that disproportionately singled out blacks and Latinos.
TREND FORECAST: Privacy is a relic of the past. The combination of more advanced hi-tech products society is addicted to that track, talk, watch, and listen, integrated with more nationally militaristic government spying measures being enforced across the globe, will continue to escalate.

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