November 28, 2022

Brighton Journal

Complete News World

Invisible cage. China is tightening its grip on how to “predict” the future

New York.- More than 1.4 billion people live there China Are under constant surveillance: They are recorded by ubiquitous police cameras, street corners, subways, hotel lobbies and apartment building entrances, their cell phones are monitored, their purchases are monitored and their online conversations are monitored.

Now, The future is also under scrutiny.

Recent technological breakthroughs examine the vast data records that citizens leave behind in their daily activities, search for patterns and deviations, and promise to predict crimes and protests before they occur. That new technology points to potential problems in the Chinese government’s view.Not only those with a criminal history, but also vulnerable groups such as ethnic minorities, migrant workers and the mentally ill.

A police patrol in Sichuan, Sichuan Province. A computer program allows Chinese officials to select people based on their preconceived notions about their characteristics. Getty Images

They can alert the police if a victim of fraud goes to Beijing and demands government compensation or if the drug user makes too many calls to the same phone number. A person with a mental illness can notify authorities whenever they walk through a school.

Zhang Yukiao, 74, has spent most of his life seeking government compensation for the torture his parents suffered during the Cultural Revolution. Until a while ago, when he went to Beijing and made one of his claims, Zhang avoided the main roads, which was enough to avoid the police. But now he has to turn off his phone, pay and buy multiple train tickets to various fake locations.

Although there is not much evidence, these new technologies from China are described in procurement orders and other documents analyzed by the newspaper. New York Times, Further expands the limits of the Beijing government’s political and social control and plunges their tents deep into the lives of the people. At the very beginning, They help to justify suffocation surveillance and privacy violations, while at the same time promoting the risk of systematic discrimination and the automation of political repression.

For the government, social stability is paramount and any threat to it must be eliminated. For ten years he was president of China Xi Jinping Tightened and centralized state security, using technological-authoritarian policies to suppress ethnic unrest in western Xinjiang and confine the Chinese population to one of the world’s most severe lockdowns. The space for ever-limited disagreement is rapidly disappearing.

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Details of these new security technologies have been reviewed and confirmed in police investigation documents, patent filing and surveillance contractor filings, as well as hundreds of public auctions and tenders. New York Times. Many documents were shared in it SynfilePublished by an online magazine Asia Society, Which has been systematically collecting data from Chinese government websites for many years. Another set of documents describing software purchased by authorities in the port city of Tianjin to prevent petitioners such as Chang from reaching neighboring Beijing was provided by IPVM, a surveillance department release.

A worker, wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), passes a police car on the street during a lockout of Govt-19 in Shanghai's Jing'an district on April 11, 2022.
A worker, wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), passes a police car on the street during a lockout of Govt-19 in Shanghai’s Jing’an district on April 11, 2022.Hector Rettamal – AFP

China’s Ministry of Public Security did not respond to requests for comment, which was sent to its headquarters in Beijing and to six delegates from across the country.

The new surveillance strategy, based on data patrol software from the United States and Europe, involves racism in technology decision-making by civil society, for example, in which areas there should be more patrols or which prisoners should be granted parole and what not. China has taken it to the extreme level, linking it to its vast data reserves across the country, allowing the police to operate with complete opacity and impunity.

Most of the time people are not aware that they are being monitored.. The effectiveness of this technology and the actions it provokes are not subject to public scrutiny in Chinese police practice. And the government does not need a court order to collect personal information in China.

In their compact form, these systems create the eternal contradiction of science fiction: How do you know if the future is accurate if the police intervene in advance to prevent the incident from happening?

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And experts say that even if software fails to predict human behavior, it can still be considered successful because surveillance prevents social unrest and crime.

“It pushes society into the invisible cage of technology,” he says. Mayan Wang, Chinese researcher at the Human Rights Watch. “Those who feel the blow more proportionately will be groups that are already severely discriminated against by the Chinese community.”

In 2017, one of China’s best entrepreneurs had a very bold vision for the future: Crime predictive computer system.

Entrepreneur Yin Qi is the founder of the artificial intelligence start-up McQueen, and he will provide the Chinese state media with surveillance system crime search engines that analyze countless hours of video footage into intuitive formats. And warn officers of suspicious behavior. The entrepreneur explained that if the cameras detect someone spending too much time at a train station, for example, the computer may refer to them as a pickpocket.

“It’s scary to see a real person behind the camera, but there’s only one computer system behind the camera,” Yin said. “Browsing the web is like the search engine we use every day: it’s very neutral. That fact must be taken into account. “

A police robot patrolling the streets of Shanghai
A police robot patrolling the streets of Shanghai Ali Song / Reuters – X01793

With that monitoring system, Yin added. “The bad guys have nowhere to hide.”

Five years later, his vision is gradually coming true. Internal Megvii submissions were reviewed The Times Show that startup products combine complete digital files for police.

Reads the company’s product description called “Create a multi-dimensional database that stores faces, photos, cars, cases and incident records”. The software analyzes the data “Find ordinary people who appear to be innocent” and thus “stop illegal activities from cradling.”

A spokesman for Megvii said in an e – mail that the company was committed to the responsible development of artificial intelligence and that its goal was to make life easier and safer, and not to “monitor any particular group or individual”.

Similar technologies are already in use. In 2022, Tianjin Police acquired software developed by Megvii rival Hikvision, which aims to predict protests. The organization collects data from thousands of petitioners, a common term used to describe those who seek to register complaints about local authorities in China with national authorities.

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The system provides scores based on applicants’ chances of moving to Beijing. As stated in the purchase documents, the data will be used to train machine learning models in the future.

A Chinese police officer instructs security guards on duty around Evergrande headquarters in Shenzhen, southern China.
A Chinese police officer instructs security guards on duty around Evergrande headquarters in Shenzhen, southern China.Ng Han Guan – AP

Local authorities are trying to avoid the petitioners’ trip to avoid political embarrassment or irregularities in their administration. And the federal government does not want disgruntled citizens to gather in the capital.

When police in Zhouning, a rural town in Fujian Province, bought a new pack of 439 cameras in 2018, they listed the coordinates of where each one should go. According to the general register of purchases, some will hang at intersections and others near schools.

But one of the nine common ones was established in front of the people’s house: Mental illness.

While some programs attempt to use the data to detect new threats, the most common type of programs rely on the preconceived notions of law enforcement. Reviewed on more than 100 purchase documents The Times, The watch focuses on the “key people” block list: Mentally ill patients, convicted criminals, fugitives, drug users, petitioners, suspected terrorists, political insurgents and threats to social stability. Other organizations include immigrant workers, young “ni-ni” – adolescents who do not study or work – ethnic minorities, foreigners and HIV-positive people.

In many cases, the software allows authorities to go beyond targeting the population and set up “digital booby traps” triggered by potential threats. In a Megvii presentation describing the features of a competing Yitu product, The system interface allowed police to design their own forecasts based on their own criteria.

With a simple fill-in-the-blank menu, police can create alarms based on specific parameters by looking at the people on the block, when they move, meeting the people on the block, and the frequency of certain events. For example, a police system can be set up to trigger an alert when two people with a history of drug use check in at the same hotel or when four activists enter the same park.

By Paul Mosur, Mui Xiao and John Liu

Translation of Jaime Arrambide