View Full Version : Orwell, digital prisons and the double-edged sword of surveillance

01-19-2018, 09:13 PM
Might as well start a thread on this before someone in the west gets the bright idea to add this to their Patriot Act toolkit.

China is adding facial recognition to its overarching surveillance systems in Xinjiang, a Muslim-dominated region in the country's far west that critics claim is under abusive security controls. The geo-fencing tools alert authorities when targets venture beyond a designated 300-meter safe zone, according to an anonymous source who spoke to Bloomberg.


Trust me, there'll be more to follow.


01-30-2018, 04:13 PM
Appeal court judges have ruled the government’s mass digital surveillance regime unlawful in a case brought by the Labour deputy leader, Tom Watson.
Liberty, the human rights campaign group which represented Watson in the case, said the ruling meant significant parts of theInvestigatory Powers Act 2016 – known as the snooper’s charter – are effectively unlawful and must be urgently changed.


01-30-2018, 04:55 PM
See also -

How do you spot a terrorist in a crowd? A Chinese answer

02-09-2018, 02:09 PM
Historical footnote.

East German Snitching Went Far Beyond the Stasi

Everyone knows about the Stasi and the extent to which it spied on the East German populace. But that was only a small part of the informing that went on. New research shows that snitching was vastly more common than previously thought.


02-28-2018, 02:53 PM
Palantir has secretly been using New Orleans to test its predictive policing technology
Palantir deployed a predictive policing system in New Orleans that even city council members don’t know about

According to Ronal Serpas, the department’s chief at the time, one of the tools used by the New Orleans Police Department to identify members of gangs like 3NG and the 39ers came from the Silicon Valley company Palantir. The company provided software to a secretive NOPD program that traced people’s ties to other gang members, outlined criminal histories, analyzed social media, and predicted the likelihood that individuals would commit violence or become a victim. As part of the discovery process in Lewis’ trial, the government turned over more than 60,000 pages of documents detailing evidence gathered against him from confidential informants, ballistics, and other sources — but they made no mention of the NOPD’s partnership with Palantir, according to a source familiar with the 39ers trial.


As the human wave attack begat the Maxim gun, as the tank begat the anti-tank rifle, so shall it ever be.
Reading/Thinking Music (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cusEcZdHxCg)

If you want to avoid getting detected, don’t wear makeup that enhances facial features, like eye shadow around the eyes. Your aim is to create an “anti-face” or inverse. Harvey says, “In the animal kingdom, this inverse effect is known as countershading. A similar effect can be achieved by creating a partial inverse that targets key areas of the face. For example, darkening or obscuring areas that normally appear light, such as the nosebridge area or the upper cheek.”


02-28-2018, 03:27 PM
There is a parallel thread on Predictive Policing, which IIRC has a USA focus:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=12757

The Chinese use of combined surveillance and more to enable pre-emption has been covered in recent posts in this thread:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=246&page=8

03-04-2018, 09:48 AM
An article by Australia's Lowy Institute that starts looking at Presient Xi's likely longer term of office and then what is emerging in China:
Moreover, under Xi, the government has established online ‘social credit’ databases, which suggests that it could eventually roll out a single score for all Chinese citizens, comprising credit ratings, online behaviour, health records, expressions of party loyalty and other information.
The beauty of a big-data dictatorship is that it could sustain itself less through direct threats and punishment as a public spectacle, and more through ‘nudges’ to manipulate people’s perspectives and behaviour. And the more time Chinese citizens spend online, the more the government will be able to control what they see and do there.
Digital technologies will also allow the government to respond more quickly to public discontent, or to head it off altogether if it can discern or predict changes in public opinion. Given that many dictatorships collapse as a result of poor information, digital technologies could become an even more powerful prophylactic against bad decision-making than term limits.
If there is one thing that political scientists, economists and technologists can all agree on, it is that Xi is building the most powerful and intrusive surveillance regime in history.

03-04-2018, 06:05 PM
China bans Orwell's ANIMAL FARM and the letter 'N'.

I had to double-check that someone wasn't channeling a Monty Python kit.


04-13-2018, 06:04 PM
A Chinese man who was wanted by police for “economic crimes” was arrested at a music concert in China after facial recognition technology spotted him inside the venue, as reported by Abacus.

The man was attending a concert by Hong Kong singer Jacky Cheung in the Nanchang, Jiangxi province when security cameras recognized him. According to the South China Morning Post, the man, only identified by family name Ao, was shocked when police approached him. Ao had driven 56 miles with his wife to attend the concert, telling authorities he felt safe in the crowd, estimated to be over 50,000, and that he would have never gone if he thought there was a chance he would be identified. “Ao was suspected to be involved in an economic crime and was listed on a national online system,” police officer Li Jin said. “He was very shocked and had a blank face when we caught him.”


04-25-2018, 06:04 PM
By 2020, the country plans to give all its 1.4. billion citizens a personal score, based on how they behave, according to CBS News. The government started working on its so-called social credit system back in 2014, which ranks citizens on their trustworthiness, including whether they jaywalk, buy Chinese-made products, what they post online, and whether they smoke in nonsmoking areas. Those deemed trustworthy can get discounts on energy bills and better interest rates at banks, while those considered untrustworthy can reportedly be stopped from buying property and even high-speed internet.


05-07-2018, 12:36 AM
Ask critics of police face recognition why they're so skeptical and they'll likely cite unreliability as one factor. What if the technology flags an innocent person? Unfortunately, that caution appears to have been warranted to some degree. South Wales Police are facing a backlash after they released data showing that their face recognition trial at the 2017 Champions League final misidentified thousands as potential criminals. Out out of 2,470 initial matches, 2,297 were false positives -- about 92 percent.

Added by Moderator, a longer article:http://www.wired.co.uk/article/face-recognition-police-uk-south-wales-met-notting-hill-carnival

05-13-2018, 03:04 PM
SAN FRANCISCO -- You probably know where your Social Security card, birth certificate and other sensitive information is being stored, but what about your genetic material? If you or your child was born in California after 1983, your DNA is likely being stored by the government, may be available to law enforcement and may even be in the hands of outside researchers, CBS San Francisco's Julie Watts reports.

KPIX has learned that most parents are not getting the required notification. We've also discovered the DNA may be used for more than just research.
In light of the Cambridge Analytica-Facebook scandal and the use of unidentified DNA to catch the Golden State Killer suspect, there are new concerns about law enforcement access, and what private researchers could do with access to the DNA from every child born in the state.

06-02-2018, 08:52 PM
This just in from our friends and allies/enemies in EurAsia.

A Chinese school has equipped several classrooms with cameras that can recognize the emotions of students, introducing a potent new form of artificial intelligence into education, while also raising alarms about a novel method of monitoring children for classroom compliance.

The cameras, installed at Hangzhou No. 11 High School, are designed to automatically take attendance and track what students are doing at any moment, including reading, writing or listening.

But they also promise to provide real-time data on students’ outward expressions, tracking whether they look scared, happy, disgusted, sad, surprised, angry or neutral. The system has been touted as a way to ensure students are attentive and happy, learning quickly and, ultimately, scoring well on tests.


06-05-2018, 01:49 PM
Amazon drew the ire of the American Civil Liberties Union on Tuesday over a facial-recognition system offered to law-enforcement agencies that the advocacy group says can be used to violate civil rights.
In marketing materials obtained by the group, Amazon Web Services says its Rekognition system uses artificial intelligence to quickly identify people in photos and videos, enabling law enforcement to track people.

See also https://www.wired.com/story/crime-fighting-gets-high-tech-advances/

06-12-2018, 08:36 PM
Vietnam’s plans to vigorously police the internet took a step forward Tuesday when it adopted a cybersecurity law that requires internet companies such as Facebook and Google to store their Vietnam-based users’ data on servers in the country.

Critics say the new law could make it easier for authorities in the one-party communist state to track down critics online. Legislation passed by the National Assembly also requires internet companies to open offices in the country, which they have been hesitant to do, in addition to removing content within 24 hours at the government’s request.

Last year, China enacted a law requiring that cloud data from China-based consumers be stored in the country, sparking worries about privacy. And Vietnam has steadily increased scrutiny of what is posted online as Facebook’s reach has grown.


06-21-2018, 07:54 PM
A couple of months stale but too good to gloss over.

China's governing Communist Party has proposed removing a clause in the constitution which limits presidencies to two five-year terms - which means President Xi Jinping could remain as leader after the end of his second term in 2023.

The controversial move has ignited discussion on Chinese social media and pushed online government censors into overdrive.

Several key terms have suddenly been subjected to heavy censorship on Sina Weibo, China's Twitter-like microblog since Sunday.

According to censorship-monitoring websites China Digital Times and Free Weibo, censored phrases include:

I don't agree
election term
constitution amendment
constitution rules
proclaiming oneself an emperor
Winnie the Pooh

So what's going on? https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-43198404

08-14-2018, 02:03 AM
Dozens of cities across China are applying an unusual forensic technique to monitor illegal drug use: chemically analysing sewage for traces of drugs, or their telltale metabolites, excreted in urine. One southern city, Zhongshan, a drug hotspot, is also monitoring waste water to evaluate the effectiveness of its drug-reduction programmes, says Li Xiqing, an environmental chemist at Peking University in Beijing who is working with police in these cities.


Obvious straight lines are obvious. Post yours' below.

08-21-2018, 11:15 AM
Who needs democracy when you have data?
Here’s how China rules using data, AI, and internet surveillance.


In 1955, science fiction writer Isaac Asimov published a short story about an experiment in “electronic democracy,” in which a single citizen, selected to represent an entire population, responded to questions generated by a computer named Multivac. The machine took this data and calculated the results of an election that therefore never needed to happen. Asimov’s story was set in Bloomington, Indiana, but today an approximation of Multivac is being built in China.

For any authoritarian regime, “there is a basic problem for the center of figuring out what’s going on at lower levels and across society,” says Deborah Seligsohn, a political scientist and China expert at Villanova University in Philadelphia. How do you effectively govern a country that’s home to one in five people on the planet, with an increasingly complex economy and society, if you don’t allow public debate, civil activism, and electoral feedback? How do you gather enough information to actually make decisions? And how does a government that doesn’t invite its citizens to participate still engender trust and bend public behavior without putting police on every doorstep?

09-07-2018, 01:23 AM
IN THE DECADE after the 9/11 attacks, the New York City Police Department moved to put millions of New Yorkers under constant watch. Warning of terrorism threats, the department created a plan to carpet Manhattan’s downtown streets with thousands of cameras and had, by 2008, centralized its video surveillance operations to a single command center. Two years later, the NYPD announced that the command center, known as the Lower Manhattan Security Coordination Center, had integrated cutting-edge video analytics software into select cameras across the city.

Now, thanks to confidential corporate documents and interviews with many of the technologists involved in developing the software, The Intercept and the Investigative Fund have learned that IBM began developing this object identification technology using secret access to NYPD camera footage. With access to images of thousands of unknowing New Yorkers offered up by NYPD officials, as early as 2012, IBM was creating new search features that allow other police departments to search camera footage for images of people by hair color, facial hair, and skin tone.


09-28-2018, 03:46 PM
"Do No Evil" Google aiding and abetting Beijing's censorship.

10-11-2018, 07:19 PM
How Google’s China project undermines its claims to political neutrality
The Verge

A leaked internal presentation about censorship frames the issue correctly — but the company’s work in China contradicts it

10-25-2018, 02:20 AM
Tim Cook: Personal data collection is being 'weaponized against us with military efficiency'

Apple and its CEO have long touted personal privacy, distancing themselves from recent, growing scandals among tech companies — but the comments from Cook are some of the strongest to date.
CEO Tim Cook said the business of selling ads against personal data has become a "data industrial complex" and stopped just short of naming tech giants like Facebook and Google in his criticisms.

10-26-2018, 04:12 PM
From virtual reality police training programmes to gun-toting drones and iris scanners, a public security expo in China showed the range of increasingly high-tech tools available to the country's police.

The exhibition, which ran Tuesday to Friday in Beijing, emphasised surveillance and monitoring technology just as the Communist government's domestic security spending has skyrocketed.

Facial-recognition screens analysing candid shots of conference attendees were scattered around the exhibition hall, while other vendors packed their booths with security cameras


11-07-2018, 02:03 AM
Chinese authorities have begun deploying a new surveillance tool: "gait recognition" software that uses people's body shapes and how they walk to identify them, even when their faces are hidden from cameras.

Already used by police on the streets of Beijing and Shanghai, "gait recognition" is part of a push across China to develop artificial-intelligence and data-driven surveillance that is raising concern about how far the technology will go.

Huang Yongzhen, the CEO of Watrix, said that its system can identify people from up to 50 meters (165 feet) away, even with their back turned or face covered. This can fill a gap in facial recognition, which needs close-up, high-resolution images of a person's face to work.


11-08-2018, 06:32 PM
Facial recognition software is already prevalent in a lot of mainstream technology products. You may even use a few of them, like Facebook photo tagging, Snapchat or Instagram face filters, or the iPhone’s Face ID, which uses facial recognition to unlock the phone.

Future uses of the technology may not be so harmless.

Microsoft President Brad Smith laid out a frightening scenario in which facial recognition technology, if left unchecked, could totally change the way we live and what privacy people are able to retain, if any.

“It potentially means every time you walk into a store, a retailer knows when you were in there last, what good you picked out, what you purchased,” he said at Web Summit, a tech conference in Lisbon, Portugal, on Wednesday. “I think even that frankly pales in comparison to what it could do to relationships between individuals and the state.”

Smith went on to describe what sounds like a total doomsday scenario for facial recognition technology, a scenario on par with the idea that automation will replace all jobs, or Elon Musk’s projected AI apocalypse.


11-20-2018, 08:27 PM
BEIJING (Reuters) - Beijing’s municipal government will assign citizens and firms “personal trustworthiness points” by 2021, state media reported on Tuesday, pioneering China’s controversial plan for a “social credit” system to monitor citizens and businesses.

The social credit system, which is being built on the principle of “once untrustworthy, always restricted”, will encourage government bodies to share more information about individual and business misdeeds in order to coordinate punishments and rewards.


11-23-2018, 02:57 AM
Millions of Chinese nationals have been blocked from booking flights or trains as Beijing seeks to implement its controversial “social credit” system, which allows the government to closely monitor and judge each of its 1.3 billion citizens based on their behaviour and activity.

The system, to be rolled out by 2020, aims to make it “difficult to move” for those deemed “untrustworthy”, according to a detailed plan published by the government this week.

It will be used to reward or punish people and organisations for “trustworthiness” across a range of measures.

A key part of the plan not only involves blacklisting people with low social credibility scores, but also “publicly disclosing the records of enterprises and individuals’ untrustworthiness on a regular basis”.


11-25-2018, 03:00 PM
Uninvited, more than one million Han Chinese people have reportedly moved into the homes of Uighur Muslim families to report on whether they display Islamic or unpatriotic beliefs.

Sent to homes in Xinjiang province by the Chinese government, American anthropologist Darren Byler said they were tasked with watching for signs that their hosts’ attachment to Islam might be “extreme”.

The informants, who describe themselves as "relatives" of the families they are staying with, are said to have received specific instructions on how to get them to let their guard down.

As devout Muslims would refuse cigarettes and alcohol. this is seen as one way of finding out whether they were extreme.

“Had a Uighur host just greeted a neighbour in Arabic with the words ‘Assalamu Alaykum’? That would need to go in the notebook,” said Dr Byler, in research published by Asia Society's Centre on US-China Relations. “Was that a copy of the Quran in the home? Was anyone praying on Friday or fasting during Ramadan? Was a little sister’s dress too long or a little brother’s beard irregular?”


Bill Moore
11-25-2018, 08:46 PM
It starts with the Muslims because they can semi-credibly use the threat of Islamic Extremists as justification for the population control measures. Note the minimal backlash from world leaders outside reports in UK journals. However, this is should be a wake up call for what is coming next, in fact it has already started with their online monitoring and ongoing assessments to their citizens resulting in a social rating based on how well they conform to "correct thinking." The dictator Xi is scared to death of internal unrest, and is taking extreme measures to suppress it. After the Uighurs it will be Hong Kong, University campuses will become indoctrination centers (not unlike the U.S.), etc.. The technologies and tactics that enable this oppression will be exported to other countries that seek similar control. Most likely to countries where Xi has bought off the leaders and needs them to stay in power so he can exploit the country for economic gain.

We ignored this threat too long, it is a form of political extremism not unlike Nazism, or Maoism enabled by state controlled capitalism. The oppression of the Muslims was the first wave, we're watching the second wave of oppression build (social credit system), and we need to anticipate what the third wave will be.

12-20-2018, 02:51 PM
FRANKFURT (Reuters) - A user of Amazon’s (AMZN.O) Alexa voice assistant in Germany got access to more than a thousand recordings from another user because of “a human error” by the company. The customer had asked to listen back to recordings of his own activities made by Alexa but he was also able to access 1,700 audio files from a stranger when Amazon sent him a link, German trade publication c’t reported.

12-23-2018, 01:23 PM
Futurologist Dr Ian Pearson believes a helmet placed on a human head in a laboratory will be able to project their thoughts in real-time. He spoke after researchers claimed they can tell what rats are thinking by analysing activity in their brains. But ex-cybernetics engineer Pearson believes humans are will be able to take it one step further. The Futurizon blogger believes either a TV or PC screen will display human thoughts as the person is thinking them live.



12-28-2018, 11:39 AM
India has authorised 10 federal government agencies to intercept and monitor information from any computer, a move opposition parties said on Friday risked creating a "surveillance state".

The interior ministry said the agencies could "intercept, monitor and decrypt any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer" under an Information Technology Act.

12-28-2018, 11:40 AM
Chinese schools have begun enforcing "smart uniforms" embedded with computer chips to monitor student movements and prevent them from skipping classes. Eleven schools in the south-west province of Guizhou have introduced the uniforms, which were developed by local tech firm Guizhou Guanyu Technology. As students enter the school, the time and date is recorded along with a short video that parents can access via a mobile app.


01-16-2019, 02:24 AM
Valid question

03-14-2019, 04:19 PM
Shenzhen’s Futian station is demonstrating 5G-backed technologies including facial recognition and payments
China’s consumers are used to mobile payments and facial recognition has been deployed to nab criminals