Tag Archives: internet

China: The Perfect High-Tech Totalitarian State, by Judith Bergman

You can be sure all sorts of US politicians and bureaucrats are going to school on the Chinese. From Judith Bergman at gatestoneinstitute.org:

  • In China, censorship, now largely automated, has reached “unprecedented levels of accuracy, aided by machine learning and voice and image recognition.” — Cate Cadell, Reuters, May 26, 2019.
  • As in other Communist regimes, such as that of the former Soviet Union, the Communist ideology does not tolerate any competing narratives. “Religion is a source of authority, and an object of fidelity, that is greater than the state… This characteristic of religion has always been anathema to history’s totalitarian despots…” — Thomas F. Farr, President of the Religious Freedom Institute, in testimony before the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, November 28, 2018.
  • In 2018, China had an estimated 200 million surveillance cameras, with plans for 626 million surveillance cameras by 2020. China’s aim is apparently an “Integrated Joint Operations Platform” which will integrate and coordinate data from surveillance cameras with facial recognition technology, citizen ID card numbers, biometric data, license plate numbers and information about vehicle ownership, health, family planning, banking, and legal records, “unusual activity”, and any other relevant data that can be gathered about citizens, such as religious practice, travels abroad, and so on, according to reports of local officials and police.
  • At the moment, China is in the process of fulfilling what Stalin, Hitler and Mao could only dream about: The flawless totalitarian state, powered by digital technology, where the individual has nowhere to flee from the all-seeing eye of the Communist state.

The 30th anniversary on June 4 of the Chinese regime’s 1989 massacre of pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square served to highlight the extreme censorship in China under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and President Xi Jinping.

The Tiananmen anniversary is referred to euphemistically in mainland China, as ‘the June Fourth Incident’. The regime there evidently fears that any talk, let alone public commemoration, of that historical event will stir up anti-regime unrest, which could endanger the Chinese Communist Party’s absolute power.

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Goodbye to the Internet: Interference by Governments Is Already Here, by Philip Giraldi

It’s only a matter of time before governments fully tame and domesticate the internet. From Philip Giraldi at strategic-culture.org:

There is a saying attributed to the French banker Nathan Rothschild that “Give me control of a nation’s money and I care not who makes its laws.” Conservative opinion in the United States has long suspected that Rothschild was right and there have been frequent calls to audit the Federal Reserve Bank based on the presumption that it has not always acted in support of the actual interests of the American people. That such an assessment is almost certainly correct might be presumed based on the 2008 economic crash in which the government bailed out the banks, which had through their malfeasance caused the disaster, and left individual Americans who had lost everything to face the consequences.

Be that as it may, if there were a modern version of the Rothschild comment it might go something like this: “Give me control of the internet and no one will ever more know what is true.” The internet, which was originally conceived of as a platform for the free interchange of information and opinions, is instead inexorably becoming a managed medium that is increasingly controlled by corporate and government interests. Those interests are in no way answerable to the vast majority of the consumers who actually use the sites in a reasonable and non-threatening fashion to communicate and share different points of view.

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Censorship vs. Suppression, by Eric Peters

Whether you categorize speech suppression by ostensibly private entities as censorship or not, it’s clear that between government and the private entities that control the internet, the ability to speak out is being steadily constricted. From Eric Peters at theburningplatform.com:

Libertarians – me included – have wrestled long and hard with this one: Is it censorship when private entities do it?

No – not in a legal sense. Because these private entities do not have the power to forbid publication, per se.

But they do have the power to suppress (and even to punish) publication when the entities at issue effectively control the means of publication – and so it amounts to the same thing as censorship.

It may even be worse, since one can always get around governmentcensorship (see, for example, the underground Samizdat press in Tsarist Russia or, later, the anti-communist press in East Germany and Poland).

But how does one “get around” private control of the all-encompassing Internet and related “social media platforms”?

There is no alternative Internet – nor is one (given present technology/infrastructure) even conceivable, regardless of one’s financial ability.

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Incoherent Thoughts from the Yankee Capital: Papua New Guinea Looks Better and Better II, by Fred Reed

A favorite Fred Reed theme: the disconnect between those who rule us, and us. From Reed at theburningplatform.com:

Having just returned from two weeks in the curious environs of Washington, DC, I offer a few observations on the national lunacy deposit:

The de-Christianization of the country, or at least this part of it,  is almost complete. I can think of hearing the word “Christmas” only twice in two weeks of trough-inciting retail advertising.

Culture shock: We stayed with friends who for various reasons, such as being in the business, always had a television on. At home in Mexico we got rid of the lobotomy box some fifteen years ago, seeing little advantage  in paying seventy dollars a month for 250 channels, none worth watching, adorned with twenty minutes an hour of stupid commercials. Coming back to this was like jumping into raw sewage. Perhaps the worst of it was the contempt for the public manifested in running the same ad twice in one commercial break, and in the loving close-ups of pizzas with dripping cheese. Buy, buy, buy.

An astonishing proportion of the hucksterism was for medicines. I assume all Americans are inured to such predatory swill (if swill can be predatory) but after a year off, it is awful:

“Ask your doctor about Caligulon. Clinical trials show that it will make you perfect in every way. Your eyeballs may explode, Peritonitis and asphyxiation sometimes occur. If you suffer heavy nasal bleeding stop taking Caligulon and consult your doctor. Gangrene of the genitals may occur….”

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Behind the North Korean Curtain, Part I

North Korea is far different from the way it is usually portrayed, according to a seasoned international traveler who has spent a fair amount of time there. From Joel Bowman at internationalman.com:

Joel Bowman talks to Kolja Spöri

Joel Bowman: Good day, Kolja. Thanks very much for taking the time to speak with International Man today. Where in the world do we find you right now?

Kolja Spöri: Merhaba, Joel! I am just in Istanbul at the airport, in transit to Munich, coming from Baghdad.

JB: Having literally written the book “I’ve Been Everywhere” (in German: Ich war überall), you certainly fit the bill as a true International Man. I imagine our conversation could go in many directions today, but I wanted to start with a particular trip you embarked on earlier this year that must have been quite eye-opening, even by your own standards.

When most people think of taking a vacation, they might imagine heading down to Florida, or the Bahamas, or maybe nipping over to Hawaii. You decided, instead, to opt for the decidedly cooler climes of Pyongyang, capital of North Korea. What inspired you to set off on an adventure to one of the so-called “Axis of Evil” countries?

KS: There’s actually warm weather and good surfing in North Korea in the summer! But yes, I have been a world traveler for a long time, both privately and on business trips. My goal became to visit every country in the world. It was just a natural thing that I would also visit North Korea on the way. North Korea is a good example where I learned that our Western view on the world does not always hold true, or at least the narratives that we are spoon fed from our Western media and our Western education system.

Fifteen years ago, I was in South Korea visiting the demilitarized zone in Panmunjom, from the south. And at that time, already 15 years ago, I had a feeling that something was wrong about the way I was taught to look at things. Now that I’ve seen the border from the other side, from the north, I have a much clearer picture of where I was wrong, and where maybe many of us are wrong in the West.

I want to make clear that I don’t defend the North Korean system. After all, I am an Austrian School Libertarian. But I use the small case study of North Korea to build a strong case against our Western regime.

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Here’s China’s massive plan to retool the web, by P.W. Singer and Emerson Brooking

The Chinese government has no intention of allowing the Chinese version of the web to become anything like the semi-freewheeling forum it is in the US. From P.W. Singer and Emerson Brooking at popsci.com:

The most ambitious project of mass control is the country’s “social credit” system. All Chinese citizens will receive a numerical score reflecting their “trustworthiness.”

The following is adapted from LikeWar by P. W. Singer and Emerson T. Brooking, a book by two defense experts—one of which is the founder of the Eastern Arsenal blog at Popular Science —about how the Internet has become a new kind of battleground, following a new set of rules that we all need to learn.

“Across the Great Wall we can reach every corner in the world.”

So read the first email ever sent from the People’s Republic of China, zipping 4,500 miles from Beijing to Berlin. The year was 1987. Chinese scientists celebrated as their ancient nation officially joined the new global internet.
 As the Internet evolved from a place for scientists to a place for all netizens, its use in China gradually grew—then exploded. In 1996, there were just 40,000 people online in China; by 1999, there were 4 million. In 2008, China passed the United States in number of active internet users: 253 million. Today, that figure has tripled again to nearly 800 million (over a quarter of all the world’s people online).

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Chinese-style ‘digital authoritarianism’ grows globally: study, by AFP

China’s government, world leader in Orwellian surveillance and suppression, is passing on its tricks to other governments. From AFP at france24.com:

Governments worldwide are stepping up use of online tools, in many cases inspired by China’s model, to suppress dissent and tighten their grip on power, a human rights watchdog study found Thursday.

The annual Freedom House study of 65 countries found global internet freedom declined for the eighth consecutive year in 2018, amid a rise in what the group called “digital authoritarianism.”

The Freedom on the Net 2018 report found online propaganda and disinformation have increasingly “poisoned” the digital space, while the unbridled collection of personal data is infringing on privacy.

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