China has the largest CCTV monitoring system in the world. There are 170 million CCTV cameras scattered throughout the country, and Beijing plans to install 400 million more by 2020.
In November, we wrote about the “City Brain” AI project in Hangzhou, China. The program has been very effective in decreasing traffic and crime in the city, but it comes at the expense of every resident’s privacy.
Citizens in Hangzhou don’t have the option to opt out of the program, but residents don’t seem to mind. They are conditioned not to question how their privacy is being violated. If they are concerned, they can’t express their opinion in fear of being tracked down and silenced.
In a recent exercise, the Chinese government proved just how fast it could find a person after his image was “flagged to authorities.” In this case, they tracked down BBC reporter John Sudworth in just 7 minutes.
The success of the exercise reveals the frightening power of China’s surveillance system, which now utilizes facial recognition technology.
Chinese police use the surveillance system to aid in investigations and improve overall security, and private corporations use it to monitor their workers. Many fear the system could easily be abused (or is already being abused) by the government.
Just imagine if the Chinese government had flagged Sudworth because he said something negative about China.
“If not properly regulated, such extensive monitoring systems could dramatically impact information sharing and modern journalism,” reports Futurism.
A government’s ability to quickly and easily silence a journalist not only endangers journalists, but threatens to shut out our access to information about activity in authoritarian countries.
The Chinese government is already working with tech giants to monitor online content for unfavorable references to the Communist Party and its leaders, among other information.
Author’s Note: China is implementing “big brother,” as we have said many times before. Think about this: if you say “Xi Jinping sucks,” you could be on your way to a work camp in seven minutes. There is no right to free speech there.
Unlike the surveillance system in London, China’s surveillance is not about law enforcement. It is about political control. This would be America’s ultimate Constitutional nightmare, where a dictator takes control because he has literal control over each citizen and can squash opposition before it arises.
Editor’s Note: China does its best to appear like a capitalist techno-paradise, but don’t be fooled. This is a totalitarian surveillance state.