NYT Sees ‘Dystopia’ in Chinese Surveillance—Which Looks a Lot Like US Surveillance, by Jim Naureckas

Perhaps the scariest thing about Chinese surveillance technology is that the US government has even more. From Jim Naureckas at fair.org:

There’s a category of story we call “Them Not Us”—US media reporting on problems abroad, and seemingly not noticing that they have the same problems at home. There’s a great example of that in the New York Times (7/8/18), headlined “Inside China’s Dystopian Dreams: AI, Shame and Lots of Cameras.”

Reporter Paul Mozur writes:

Beijing is embracing technologies like facial recognition and artificial intelligence to identify and track 1.4 billion people. It wants to assemble a vast and unprecedented national surveillance system, with crucial help from its thriving technology industry.

Is it really so unprecedented, though? The US National Security Agency in 2011 described its “New Collection Posture” toward global electronic communication as “Know It All…Collect It All…Process It All…Exploit It All.” Hard to get much vaster than that, isn’t it?

As for embracing technologies like facial recognition with crucial help from a thriving technology industry, here’s a headline from the Guardian(7/6/18) that came out two days before the Times piece:

Thanks to Amazon, the Government Will Soon Be Able to Track Your Face

Mozur went on to write, “Other systems…track internet use and communications, hotel stays, train and plane trips and even car travel in some places.” “Even car travel in some places”? It sounds like China is playing catch-up to the US when it comes to surveilling its motorists, as media activist Tracy Rosenberg recently described to CounterSpin (6/29/18):

On license plate readers, these are sort of ubiquitous. In the past decade, they really have been set up in probably the majority of cities and counties in the US. And they take a photograph of the front of a car—they’re usually pole-mounted on traffic lights—as it goes by. And, essentially, if you are one of those people who happens to drive back and forth, every single day, past one of these, it can geolocate you in time and space, based on your license plate, on a fairly regular basis.

NYT depiction of Chinese police wearing smart glasses

The New York Times depicts Chinese police with “AI-powered smart glasses.” Meanwhile, in the US, “Police Departments Have Their Eye on Google Glass” (USA Today, 2/12/14) is a four-year-old story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To continue reading: NYT Sees ‘Dystopia’ in Chinese Surveillance—Which Looks a Lot Like US Surveillance

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