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Thread: China's mass surveillance state

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    China's mass surveillance state

    Qian Xue Shen and the central place of systems engineering in China's modern mass surveillance state:

    http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/...e-its-citizens

    A revered rocket scientist set in motion China’s mass surveillance of its citizens

    .....
    In the West, systems engineering's heyday has long passed. But in China, the discipline is deeply integrated into national planning. The city of Wuhan is preparing to host in August the International Conference on Control Science and Systems Engineering, which focuses on topics such as autonomous transportation and the "control analysis of social and human systems." Systems engineers have had a hand in projects as diverse as hydropower dam construction and China's social credit system, a vast effort aimed at using big data to track citizens' behavior. Systems theory "doesn't just solve natural sciences problems, social science problems, and engineering technology problems," explains Xue Huifeng, director of the China Aerospace Laboratory of Social System Engineering (CALSSE) and president of the China Academy of Aerospace Systems Science and Engineering in Beijing. "It also solves governance problems."

    The field has resonated with Chinese President Xi Jinping, who in 2013 said that "comprehensively deepening reform is a complex systems engineering problem." So important is the discipline to the Chinese Communist Party that cadres in its Central Party School in Beijing are required to study it. By applying systems engineering to challenges such as maintaining social stability, the Chinese government aims to "not just understand reality or predict reality, but to control reality," says Rogier Creemers, a scholar of Chinese law at the Leiden University Institute for Area Studies in the Netherlands.

    ....

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    WSJ report on mass surveillance in Xinjiang



    Elon Musk and other's have been talking about the dangers of AI. I'm now starting to believe them. The threat is not that AI will rise up and take over humanity. Rather, AI gives authoritarians the ability to extend surveillance and control to every aspect of people's lives at an economical cost.

    When people are tracked any where they go on their daily business, when AI is used to rate people's social conformity, when such ratings drive decisions that affect liberty and prosperity, and when a state whole heartedly pitches its resources behind such measures, then for the average person, the machines really have become the overlords.

    We are a mere 5 years into the AI revolution and it's absolutely stunning how far China has already gone in this direction.
    Last edited by citanon; 14 Mar 18, at 23:11.

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    https://www.theverge.com/2018/3/12/1...s-surveillance

    Chinese police expanding facial recognition sunglasses program

    Attachment 45568
    Last edited by citanon; 14 Mar 18, at 23:11.

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    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by citanon View Post
    when a state whole heartedly pitches its resources behind such measures, the for the average person, the machines really have become the overlords.
    Then the response is as old as people have existed. Rise up, smash the machines and build a new state.

    Doesn't matter what the tech is

    There comes a tipping point eventually

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    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Xinjiang reported free of terror attacks last year | China Daily | Mar 14 2018



    Exhibit A - Smiling Uighurs

    No problems in xiangjiang

    "Xinjiang will continue to enforce the comprehensive anti-terrorism measures to keep the region stable," said Shohrat Zakir, chairman of Xinjiang. He spoke during a plenary session of the Xinjiang delegation to the first session of the 13th National People's Congress, the top legislature.

    A series of new anti-terrorism measures have been introduced since Chen Quanguo was appointed as Party secretary of Xinjiang in August 2016.
    The harassment and beatings will continue until morale improves -- The management
    Last edited by Double Edge; 15 Mar 18, at 12:38.

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    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by laowhy86 View Post
    In China, we haven't really seen evidence of this yet. Despite the news headlines. I really want to make an informed video on the topic, but at this point, I can't seem to have hard evidence of how this technology is being used.
    Would this change your mind any ?

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/w...-a8357966.html

    Making a video about this is likely to get you banged up in a bad way
    Last edited by Double Edge; 24 May 18, at 20:52.

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    Senior Contributor Oracle's Avatar
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    China Is Going to Outrageous Lengths to Surveil Its Own Citizens

    China has reportedly begun deploying flocks of drones disguised as birds to surveil its citizens. The drones have wings that flap so realistically they’re difficult to distinguish from actual birds. In fact, animals on the ground often can’t make the distinction, and even real birds in the sky sometimes fly alongside the drones. One researcher involved in the project has claimed that the robotic birds can mimic 90 percent of the movements of their biological counterparts, and they’re also very quiet, which helps them avoid detection.

    The operation’s codename is “Dove”—but there’s reason to doubt whether these machines come in peace. Yang Wenqing, a member of the team behind Dove, said the technology has “some unique advantages to meet the demand for drones in the military and civilian sectors” and “good potential for large-scale use in the future.”

    Headlines about technologies like these gaining traction in China have been appearing in the news with alarming frequency. Facial-recognition tech is now used for everything from catching criminals in huge crowds to detecting and shaming jaywalkers to deciding whether someone can get an extra square of toilet paper in a public bathroom. Some employees have to wear helmets that scan their brainwaves for rage, depression, anxiety, or fatigue, and that alert their bosses to any perceived problem. Then there’s the country’s social credit system, which monitors millions of individuals’ behavior (including via social media and online shopping), determines how moral or immoral it is, and raises or lowers their “citizen score” accordingly. Those with a high score are rewarded, while those with a low score are punished.

    Even in a country known for its extreme spying on its entire population, the degree of surveillance targeting Muslims in particular is unnerving. An estimated 22 to 25 million Muslims live in China, out of a total population of 1.4 billion. Last year, a Freedom House study found that extensive surveillance affects many religious groups, with Muslims as well as Protestant Christians and Tibetan Buddhists experiencing an increase in persecution over the previous five years. In an interview this week, Timothy Grose, a China expert at the Rose Hulman Institute of Technology, told me, “Right now, we see a lot of the repression being directed against Muslims.”

    The Dove program’s bird-like drones have been flown over five provinces so far, and it’s perhaps no coincidence that they’ve been used extensively in one area in particular: Xinjiang, a northwestern region heavily populated by Uighurs, a largely Muslim ethnic minority. The government has long considered the region a breeding ground for separatism and extremism. Ethnic riots there killed hundreds in 2009, and some Uighurs have perpetrated terror attacks in recent years. The area is now subject to a heightened level of surveillance, with authorities collecting DNA samples, fingerprints, iris scans, voice samples, and blood types from residents.

    “They’re applying a very, very broad attempted solution to what they see as an ideological danger. In Xinjiang, the definition of extremism has expanded so far as to incorporate virtually anything you do as a Muslim,” James Millward, a professor of Chinese history at Georgetown University, told me. The amount of surveillance directed at that region’s 11 million Uighurs, he added, is “certainly disproportionate” relative to that directed at other groups. “Islam is now effectively being demonized in China.”

    This month, 11,500 Chinese Muslims are heading to Mecca on the annual Hajj pilgrimage. Before leaving the country, some of the pilgrims were given state-issued tracking devices, in the form of “smart cards” attached to lanyards around their necks. The devices bear GPS trackers and customized personal data. The state-run China Islamic Association says they’re intended to ensure the pilgrims’ safety. (There is legitimate reason for such concerns: During the 2015 Hajj, a stampede killed more than 750 pilgrims.) But some human-rights experts say this is one more effort to surveil Muslims. The government’s fear, according to a Human Rights Watch report, is that religious pilgrimages could act as “potential cover for subversive political activity.”

    “I don’t use what comes out of human-rights organizations uncritically, but here’s one case where I would definitely side with them,” Grose said. “The pilgrims are always accompanied by an official guide, essentially a monitor, who represents the Chinese Islamic Association, which represents the state. Their movements are always under supervision. Their schedules are airtight, with very little room for any extracurricular activities. So the use of GPS in an already tightly put-together schedule just seems too redundant [if it’s about safety]. To me, it’s about: ‘Well, what if one of them sneaks away, and we need to find out where he is and if he’s talking to someone and bringing back with him an interpretation of Islam that doesn’t accord with [what the government] has been promoting?’”

    Muslims are also experiencing larger human-rights violations in China. An estimated 1 million Uighurs are reportedly being held without trial in detention camps, where they’re forced to memorize Communist Party propaganda, criticize their own previous religious behavior, and renounce Islam, including by eating pork and drinking alcohol. China issued a denial Monday after a United Nations human-rights panel said last Friday that it’s seen many credible reports alleging that a million Uighurs are held in what resembles a “massive internment camp that is shrouded in secrecy.” In July, the U.S. State Department expressed deep concern about the “possibly millions” of Muslims in the camps, and an earlier U.S. commission called it “the largest mass incarceration of a minority population in the world today.”

    Although China has been mostly targeting Uighurs, it’s also detaining Muslim members of other ethnic groups like Kazakhs. If Uighurs and Kazakhs—both Turkic peoples—are taking the brunt of the maltreatment, it’s likely because the Chinese authorities see them as a threat to the integrity of the country, with Uighur separatists aspiring to their own national homeland (they refer to Xinjiang as East Turkestan) and Kazakhs maintaining foreign contacts across the border in Kazakhstan.

    “The Chinese government thinks that these Turkic Muslims have incorrect thoughts,” Maya Wang, a senior China researcher at Human Rights Watch, wrote in an email, “because they identify more with Turks and Muslims in Turkey and Central Asia. To correct these thoughts, and to make them loyal subjects of the Chinese Communist Party, it needs to reengineer their identities and to tightly control them.”

    For his part, Grose said, “The Chinese Communist Party allows for and even celebrates most ethnic diversity. But when that’s animated by religious nationalism, that’s what the Party fears—because those are forces that originate outside China, which they can’t control.”

    Chinese experiments in surveillance are having an impact elsewhere in the world: Some of the new tech the authorities seem to try out on Uighur Muslims is later applied more broadly in the country and then exported abroad. “Xinjiang provides a testing ground from which they can then try it in larger places,” Grose said. Chinese firms have already sold their surveillance tech to countries like Malaysia, Pakistan, and Zimbabwe, and may soon gain a foothold in Europe, too.
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    Chinese Cops Now Spying on American Soil
    China is compiling a global registry of its ethnic minorities who have fled persecution, threatening to detain the families of those who don’t comply. The message: Nowhere is safe.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    Then the response is as old as people have existed. Rise up, smash the machines and build a new state.

    Doesn't matter what the tech is

    There comes a tipping point eventually
    I think that's naive way of looking at it. At this point to smash the system, you'd have to destroy the internet, or at least the local network inside a given country. Otherwise the system remains and the only thing that changes is who runs it. The mass sharing and storing of information is/has led to a fundamental change in the human condition that likely can't be reversed without removing the technology itself, or at least removing a subset of society from the technology.

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    Senior Contributor Oracle's Avatar
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    What it is, it is. There is no rollback. Even if a liberal ousts a dictator, he's likely to keep a simpler version of surveillance because it is human nature not to trust everybody and fun to snoop around. Nobody gives up on power when they have it, and fun turns into obsession. But, with it comes enhanced technology. The state can jam cellphone networks, satellite phone then does the job. The state can snoop around e-mails, one can then use signal or telegram. Or stop using gadgets altogether and live off the grid. There are people who do that, and I'd presume they are much content. AI is good, can help solve a lot of things. I'm afraid of its use in military and it's already being used in surveillance. Once we go past that line, there's no turning back.
    Last edited by Oracle; 20 Aug 18, at 16:56.
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    Politicians are elected to serve...far too many don't see it that way - Albany Rifles!

    Loyalty to country always. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it - Mark Twain!

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    Defense ProfessionalSenior Contributor tbm3fan's Avatar
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    Hmm, beware of China. Xi most powerful leader since Mao? No, I think not. What Xi has done is pretty much positioned himself as another God like Emperor from the Dynasties of the past.

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    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    These are the after effects of Xi consolidating power. You see only a snapshot here in the religious space but he's operating in all spaces and walks of life. Paranoid like.

    I think the crackdowns will be temporary, temporary meaning five years at least that is until his confidence grows that threats are diminishing.

    Xi's doing his best to prepare in case there is a hard landing

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oracle View Post
    What it is, it is. There is no rollback. Even if a liberal ousts a dictator, he's likely to keep a simpler version of surveillance because it is human nature not to trust everybody and fun to snoop around. Nobody gives up on power when they have it, and fun turns into obsession. But, with it comes enhanced technology. The state can jam cellphone networks, satellite phone then does the job. The state can snoop around e-mails, one can then use signal or telegram. Or stop using gadgets altogether and live off the grid. There are people who do that, and I'd presume they are much content. AI is good, can help solve a lot of things. I'm afraid of its use in military and it's already being used in surveillance. Once we go past that line, there's no turning back.
    Indeed. And even if the government didn't do it, some corporation or grouping there of will start building similar things.

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    Senior Contributor Oracle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    These are the after effects of Xi consolidating power. You see only a snapshot here in the religious space but he's operating in all spaces and walks of life. Paranoid like.

    I think the crackdowns will be temporary, temporary meaning five years at least that is until his confidence grows that threats are diminishing.

    Xi's doing his best to prepare in case there is a hard landing
    You're forgetting authoritarian paranoia is ever lasting, or until the Emperor is dead. Then another Emperor comes in, and the paranoia continues. The only change here is the 'change of guard'.

    If you open the window for fresh air, you have to expect some flies to blow in (Deng Xiaoping) - has been Chinese thinking since the 80s. The Great Firewall is, but, a sub-system of the Golden Shield Project started in 1998. To have it online in such massive scale requires State insecurity at a disproportionate level, considering internet arrived in China in 1994.
    Last edited by Oracle; 21 Aug 18, at 05:32.
    Politicians are elected to serve...far too many don't see it that way - Albany Rifles!

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