Subscriber Discussion

The Chinese Surveillance State (Part 1 And 2)

After listening to more specifics regarding the conditions in Western China on this two part podcast (yesterday and today), I will have a hard time ethically buying and selling Chinese surveillance and security equipment going forward, especially from companies that support this humanity crisis.  It is horrifying and has no place in the 21st century in a civilized society.  (It truly is 1984 come to life).

The Chinese Surveillance State, Part 1

The Chinese Surveillance State, Part 2

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Post link?

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Search podcast feeds for “the daily” (new york times).  

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Jeffrey, thanks for sharing! I've embedded the links and the audio player to your original comment.

Charles is at Secutech Taipei and I've been busy so I have not listened / read the NY Times reports yet.

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No American can sell or install Hikvision and consider themselves ethically responsible. This is just a fact now. It may come out that more and more Chinese manufacturers are just as guilty. At that point we have to move to another manufacturing country. I'm actually very eager to forge new relationships with other countries, just for diversity's sake.

In my experience, and I've been to China MANY times, the people are wonderful human beings with much to teach the world. The businesses and governments are not. If I ever catch myself saying something hateful about "The Chinese" I always attempt to correct myself. They are not their government, just like I am not the US Government.

It is sad, and unfortunate, and entirely terrible... however that is where their new leader is taking them. I cannot follow any longer. I don't think any self-respecting American can.

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Some key quotes from the podcasts:

they’ve hung lots of cameras in mosques. So the Id Kah Mosque is this beautiful, mustard yellow mosque that sits in the center of old Kashgar. It’s the heart of Uighur Islam. And I think I counted more than 200 cameras inside the mosque, trying to capture worshippers who would come and go. And there aren’t many worshippers anymore, of course, because who’s going to go walk in front of those cameras and show their faces? And then that very easily can just go into a database, and then they have a data point. They know that Michael was right outside the Id Kah Mosque at this time. And then when he leaves the Id Kah Mosque, he’ll have to give his ID again. And then when he goes down to the marketplace, he has to give his ID again. And that way, you can build a comprehensive map of where you’re going. If you want to go to the bank, if you want to go to a grocery store, you have to do this. If you want to enter the old city, you have to do it. And so, it effectively just makes it impossible to do anything in this society without constantly giving up your private information to the state and to the police.

They’re making lists of people who would petition the government or complain about the government. But they also have lists of every single person registered to live in that city. So the idea isn’t just to track these small groups. It’s to track everyone, with the idea that if somebody were to get out of line, then you know everything about them to begin with.

So this is — governance by data, governance by mass surveillance, is, in a way, the Chinese model now, and they want to bring it to the world. And what this encourages is authoritarianism, because it uses technology unapologetically to consolidate power by understanding what everybody’s doing and where they are at any given moment

you walk down a street in city of Kashgar, where we were, you’ll hit a checkpoint maybe every 200 yards. And they’ll stop people, they’ll scan their IDs, they’ll force them to take a photo for facial recognition, and then they’ll move on. But then 200 yards later, you run into another one, and then there’s police everywhere. And then you have cameras hanging from every corner.

every time you leave the hotel — there’s only one way out of the hotel, because the rest of it is surrounded by barbed wire — you have seven secret police following you. And if you talk to anybody, they take down their ID information. So, if you buy a vegetable from a vendor, they take down their information.

And, so, oftentimes, they wonder — well, has my family member died or not? And then you have whole cities that aren’t really sure about the fate of the people around them. In that context, waiting in line at a checkpoint, not knowing if an alarm is going to go off, watching a policeman kind of eyeing him not sure if he’s going to come and stop you, going under a camera, talking to a neighbor who could be an informant — all of these things become fraught and things that are sort of stressful. [emphasis added]

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