Surveillance is tightening inside China—but our carelessness also gives the regime huge capabilities abroad
The CCP set out to use new technology to control and condition its people with the Golden Shield project, announced in 2002. It had four main aims: to allow the authorities to know within a few seconds everything about a particular person; to predict who might cause trouble to the regime; to anticipate the organising of any action deemed inimical to the Party; and to curtail the freedom and actions of anyone deemed dubious.
At a conference in September 2017 and not for the first time, Meng Jianzhu, the erstwhile head of the security system, hailed big data and modern information technology for its role in “extending social governance to the smallest social units, such as villages and communities, in order to realise precise governance”. The State Council’s national artificial intelligence development plan declares that AI “is indispensable for the effective maintenance of social stability”.
The euphemism “precise governance” is an authoritarian’s dream and a libertarian’s nightmare. The precision can be seen from the musings of the Ministry of Education, which, conscious of students as the perennial catalyst of protest, has suggested monitoring their political sentiments and ideology by collating data from library records, surveys, social media posts, performance and opinions in class, and more. Such a gauge of political reliability could be used to decide who might be eligible for jobs in state run organisations and businesses.
Categories: Huawei 5G