We have got to the point where there is a concentrated effort from a nation’s government to collect all the data it can about each and every citizen and then feed all that to an AI and look for patterns.
Of course all this is in the name of safety…. But as I have said in the past, I am into tech, not politics, so how it gets sold to people is beyond the scope of my little brain.
It’s “precrime” meets “thoughtcrime.” China is using its substantial surveillance apparatus as the basis for a “unified information environment” that will allow authorities to profile individual citizens based upon their online behaviors, financial transactions, where they go, and who they see.
As Defense One’s Patrick Tucker reports, the Chinese government is leveraging “predictive policing” capabilities that have been used by US law enforcement, and it has funded research into machine learning and other artificial intelligence technologies to identify human faces in surveillance video.
The Chinese government has plenty of data to feed into such systems. China invested heavily in building its surveillance capabilities in major cities over the past five years, with spending on “domestic security and stability” surpassing China’s defense budget—and turning the country into the biggest market for security technology. And in December, China’s government gained a new tool in surveillance: anti-terrorism laws giving the government even more surveillance powers and requiring any technology companies doing business in China to provide assistance in that surveillance.
The law states that companies “shall provide technical interfaces, decryption and other technical support and assistance to public security and state security agencies when they are following the law to avert and investigate terrorist activities”—in other words, the sort of “golden key” that FBI Director James Comey has lobbied for in the US.
So what do we have here? In a nutshell, all the personal IoT data that we have been talking about for the past twoish years.
I had no idea that things were so advanced in China in this regard.
One quote in there really jumped out at me…. “spending on “domestic security and stability” surpassing China’s defense budget—and turning the country into the biggest market for security technology.”
I really wish I had some time to dig into that fact and double check it… It just blows my mind that they are spending more on domestic security than defense…. that is a number that I just really want to question….
That aside, in a nutshell, I have read that the iPhone is selling gangbusters in China, so, if that is the case, then can it be said that the Chinese government has no trouble getting the information they need from everyone’s phone?
How might this be possible? We all leak data. We all have an electronic smog signature that is unique to each of us. Even our encrypted data leaves a trail. In order for our devices to work, to interoperate with other devices, there is a handshake, a data exchange, encrypted or otherwise. That handshake is unique for each device. It is trivial then to build a pattern of time and use even if the actual conversation is unreadable.
The problem is this (as I see it), they (we) do not have a model for what a pre-crime terror act looks like.
AI is good at identifying cars because we can set it up on a public road and teach it what cars look like. It learns and builds confidence in identifying cars.
AI is like a child, it learns from its parents, it watches them to know what it should and should not do.
Just data, with no context, with no end goal, is just noise, no matter how much you throw at it, it still can not learn any patterns if there is no model patten.
It would seem the Chinese are working on this part, but since they do not have a pattern, they are only looking for things they consider obvious, a person with no known family members overseas making lots of off shore phone calls for example.
So what’s really going on?
My buddy Dan pointed out many many years ago that the scales tipped when the phone directory switched and put the business up front and the people at the back. He was so insightful that it is a little scary. People have become the new currency. Who we are, who we talk to, where we shop etc is the way money changes hands.
Sure, China might be spinning it as safety and acts of terror preventer, but the fact is, those events do not happen daily, money changes hands every second of every day and night… In other words, a nation wide ‘security system’ needs to pay for itself between acts of terror.
You will not be able to buy or sell without your electronic smog signature before long… Now where have I heard that before?