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Data leak exposes China's surveillance measure

ANI | Updated: Jul 04, 2022 04:55 IST

Beijing [China], July 4 (ANI): China is collecting a staggering amount of personal data from millions of citizens with the intention to design a system where they can find out a person's identity, which will help the government in maintaining its authoritarian rule.
The Chinese government signed the contract with the companies to provide the surveillance technology and to keep the record of bids and make them public, but in reality, the documents are scattered and shared with New York Times to study China's surveillance capabilities. It gives details about the Chinese government's main goal.
Apart from CCTV cameras that they have installed in every corner of the country and even inside people's homes, especially during the Covid-19 lockdown, the Chinese government start using Phone-tracking devices to link people's digital lives to their identity and physical movements.
The Chinese authorities are primarily using four data sources to collect the information. Cameras are considered the "foundation of China's surveillance state". Secondly, phone trackers, which is used by millions of citizen every day.
The next one is the "DNA" which is being collected indiscriminately from people with no connection to the crime. And lastly, Artificial Intelligence is used to predict or detect crimes, such as signalling officers when a person with a history of mental illness gets near a school or alerting authorities if a marriage is suspicious.
According to the publication, The New York Times revealed, two aspects of surveillance which is elementary level and another one are the highest level.
China is using surveillance because social stability is paramount and any threat to the government should be eliminated, according to the New York Times.
It further stated that during his decade as China's top leader, Xi Jinping has hardened and centralized the security state, unleashing techno-authoritarian policies to quell ethnic unrest in the western region of Xinjiang and enforce some of the world's most severe coronavirus lockdowns. The space for dissent, always limited, is rapidly disappearing."
The publication recalled the 2020 incident where the request of a woman to move to Hong Kong was denied after the surveillance software alerted the Chinese police that the marriage was suspicious. In further investigation, it was revealed that the two were not often in the same place at the same time and had not spent the Spring Festival holiday together. Police concluded that the marriage had been faked to obtain a migration permit.
In a similar incident, an automated alert about a man's frequent entry into a residential compound with different companions prompted police to investigate. And later on, it was discovered that he was a part of a pyramid scheme, according to state media.
The publication pointed out that although the Chinese government never admitted to the surveillance, the details of the spy technologies at work inside China are emerging from the police research papers, surveillance contractor patents and presentations, as well as hundreds of public procurement documents.
The worst thing about the surveillance is its patent illegality. Often people don't know they're being watched. Chinese authorities interfere in the public's privacy without permission. (ANI)