Will China’s AI Surveillance State Go Global?

China already has hundreds of millions of surveillance cameras in place, reports the Atlantic’s deputy editor, and “because a new regulation requires telecom firms to scan the face of anyone who signs up for cellphone services, phones’ data can now be attached to a specific person’s face.”

But the article also warns that when it comes to AI-powered surveillance, China “could also export it beyond the country’s borders, entrenching the power of a whole generation of autocrats” and “shift the balance of power between the individual and the state worldwide…”

The country is now the world’s leading seller of AI-powered surveillance equipment…. China uses “predatory lending to sell telecommunications equipment at a significant discount to developing countries, which then puts China in a position to control those networks and their data,” Michael Kratsios, America’s CTO, told me. When countries need to refinance the terms of their loans, China can make network access part of the deal, in the same way that its military secures base rights at foreign ports it finances. “If you give [China] unfettered access to data networks around the world, that could be a serious problem,” Kratsios said…
Having set up beachheads* in Asia, Europe, and Africa, China’s AI companies are now pushing into Latin America, a region the Chinese government describes as a “core economic interest.” China financed Ecuador’s $240 million purchase of a surveillance-camera system. Bolivia, too, has bought surveillance equipment with help from a loan from Beijing. Venezuela recently debuted a new national ID-card system that logs citizens’ political affiliations in a database built by ZTE.

* The article provides these additional examples:
In Malaysia, the government is working with Yitu, a Chinese AI start-up, to bring facial-recognition technology to Kuala Lumpur’s police…Chinese companies also bid to outfit every one of Singapore’s 110,000 lampposts with facial-recognition cameras. In South Asia, the Chinese government has supplied surveillance equipment to Sri Lanka. On the old Silk Road, the Chinese company Dahua is lining the streets of Mongolia’s capital with AI-assisted surveillance cameras.In Serbia, Huawei is helping set up a “safe-city system,” complete with facial-recognition cameras and joint patrols conducted by Serbian and Chinese police aimed at helping Chinese tourists to feel safe.Kenya, Uganda, and Mauritius are outfitting major cities with Chinese-made surveillance networks…

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot