China: Making Sales in a Booming Surveillance Market

January 22, 2020

China has an authoritarian government, so it is not surprising they are developing AI surveillance technology. What is surprising, however and yet not so much, is that China is exporting their AI surveillance technology to other countries. Japan Times reports how, “AI Surveillance Proliferating, With China Exporting Tech To Over To 60 Countries, Report Says.”

Among the countries China has sold the technology to are Venezuela, Myanmar, Iran, and Zimbabwe (all less than reputable places).

China uses facial recognition technology to monitor Muslim minorities, who have been imprisoned in concentration camps. The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace shared the news about China’s AI technology sales. The fears are that these authoritarian governments would use the technology to augment their dominance and share the data with China.

As China slowly gains more economic prominence, it is trying to encourage more countries to purchase its technology and other electronics. These include countries in Europe, Asia, and Africa. China is slowly making these countries rely on their technology:

“ ‘Chinese product pitches are often accompanied by soft loans to encourage governments to purchase their equipment,’ [the report] said. ‘This raises troubling questions about the extent to which the Chinese government is subsidizing the purchase of advanced repressive technology.’

China has come under international condemnation in the wake of an investigative report by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists on the country’s surveillance and predictive-policing system to oppress Uighurs and send them to internment camps.”

Democratic countries are also developing AI surveillance technology, but they are not controlling how the technology is used and how it could violate laws.

China has a powerful piece of police ware technology and are already using it to violate human rights. What will China do when the technology becomes more advanced?

Whitney Grace, January 22, 2020


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