China Exporting Its Surveillance Tech And Philosophy To Other Countries, Helped By Equipment Donations

from the laboratory-for-comprehensive-security-systems dept

It will probably come as zero surprise to Techdirt readers to learn the following:

China’s state surveillance apparatus is trying out a new tool in one of its favorite test beds, the restive region of Xinjiang.

The Muslim-dominated villages on China’s western frontier are testing facial-recognition systems that alert authorities when targeted people venture more than 300 meters (1,000 feet) beyond designated “safe areas,” according to a person familiar with the project. The areas comprise individuals’ homes and workplaces, said the person, who requested anonymity to speak to the media without authorization.

As that Bloomberg report rightly notes, this further extension of the Chinese state’s surveillance system is taking place in Xinjiang, which acts as a kind of test-bed for moves of this kind, many of which are then rolled out to the rest of the country. That’s clearly terrible news for people in China, but superficially doesn’t directly concern the rest of the world. However, a story in the South China Morning Post reveals that China’s surveillance tech and philosophy are now appearing in countries outside China:

Ecuador has introduced a security system using monitoring technology from China, including facial recognition, as it tries to bring down its crime rate and improve emergency management, according to state-run Xinhua news agency.

A network of cameras has been installed across the South American nation’s 24 provinces — keeping watch on its population of 16.4 million people — using a system known as the ECU911 Integrated Security Service, Xinhua reported.

The article explains that experiments are being run to turn footage from Chinese surveillance cameras into data at the Laboratory for Comprehensive Security Systems, which is located in the ECU911 headquarters in Ecuador’s capital. China had a hand in that, too:

State-owned China National Electronics Import and Export Corporation (CEIEC) was involved in setting up the laboratory. CEIEC is a subsidiary of China Electronics Corporation (CEC), one of the country’s largest defence contractors.

CEC’s reach extends far beyond China?s homeland security, and the system in Ecuador is not its first project in South America. In Brazil, CEC was involved in using Chinese technology to monitor environmental risks in the Amazon rainforest. But in Bolivia and Venezuela, as in Ecuador, its projects are to do with public security.

Soft power is key focus for China at the moment, particularly as part of its One Belt, One Road mega infrastructure project. Another way China spreads its influence around the world is by donating surveillance equipment, as happened in Ecuador. It’s a shrewd move. Local governments can say that it would be foolish to turn down generous gifts from such a powerful nation, and that once accepted, it would be a waste not to use the equipment. China can claim that it is “helping” other nations improve their internal security, while establishing a beachhead for Chinese companies that manufacture the surveillance equipment. The latter can then build on that to win further sales — and to help spread Chinese-style surveillance yet further.

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or, and +glynmoody on Google+

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Companies: cec, ceiec

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Comments on “China Exporting Its Surveillance Tech And Philosophy To Other Countries, Helped By Equipment Donations”

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That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

I’m waiting for the Congressional inquiry into why we don’t have this.
If someone goes someplace we don’t think they should be, or with people we suspect we can launch a swat team to take them down before anything bad happens.

It is the latest in pre-crime technology and we should have it! People have surrendered so many other rights to be “safe” this will be an easy sell… unless someone asks why it only is tracking brown skinned people.

With the massive amount of surveillance we have already we’ve managed to stop terrorist “plots” the FBI created, staffed, & funded.
Of course the Vegas shooter hadn’t blipped on the radar.
The church shooting didn’t blip.

It’s almost like the entire system is based on the premise that if you have brown skin or a certain religion you are 1000% more likely to be a terrorist, and ignoring the sheer number of acts that should be called terrorism but aren’t because the perps were white.

Tracking everyone, everywhere, won’t help.
As we have seen after every single terrorist event, different agencies are aware of a bad guy but won’t share the info trying to protect their budget & status.
All of the gathered data is reviewed at the end, to show how badly they screwed up but the answer always is more spying, despite the evidence we can’t handle what we gather now.

We will see a case where 2 flagged people happen to be at the same place at the same time & an emergency team rolled out to stop the bad… that isn’t actually happening. People will draw conclusions on their feels, not on real evidence because its easier to defame the target when they are dead. Not acting might let something bad happen so shoot first, and make up the narrative that supports this sort of over zealous spying.

We’re more likely to be SWATTED and die than a terrorist to get us, but we’re still spending billions to stop the terrorists but can’t secure caller id systems?

Anonymous Coward says:

"That Anonymous Coward" and this minion are simply making up FUD while ignoring how Facebook and Google surveil NOW.

Both might as well be enemy agents because pointing us in wrong directions: at China or at the majority white people: “should be called terrorism but aren’t because the perps were white.”

Snowden didn’t inform about China, now did he? NO, but of domestic enemies NSA and its seven pet mega-corps, starting with GOOGLE, that all give NSA “direct access”. But never a mention of those here!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: "That Anonymous Coward" and this minion are simply making up FUD while ignoring how Facebook and Google surveil NOW.

So you complain that globalists are driving foreign interests outside of America… but when confronted with China selling their surveillance tech you still want to bitch about Google? Not even the NSA, just to focus on one company?

Damn, blue, you gotta take a breath every once in a while. I know being surgically fixed to MyNameHere’s copyright-flavored phallus is your dream come true and all, but every so often you have to inhale oxygen.

Jim says:

I believe you have the wrong ideas. Seven corps controlling the world? Nope, not if you check who are the board of directors,,individuals? Maybe. Government’s trying? Maybe, but, brown people? Then, why are there oppressed white people? You logic falls apart. At the Lowest level. Yes, there are bad people, in the world, just as there are greedy people in the world, and it doesn’t matter the color of the victim, just as long as they make ” green”.

Anonymous Coward says:

I read about the Chinese using their credit scoring system as a measurement of social standing and therefore becoming a means of control. This is also being implemented in the US by insurance companies under the guise of predicting “bad behavior” which certainly results in more automobile accidents – surrrrrre it does.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

as reprehensible as it appears I can confirm that lost of people actively sabotage themselves in many ways. There is a certain point at which you are “unlucky” because you so ignorant of things that you never thing to… don’t stand here, don’t buy that, don’t waste your time here, don’t act or fail to act in a way that helps to facilitate disaster.

Primary example… people that injure themselves by falling into pools, off cliffs, or walking into dangerous traffic because they were too focused on reading their phones.

These systems prove two benefits, yes charging more, but also being able to determine higher risk factors.

Chaos Math, the world is really not as random as you might think.

I.T. Guy says:

Re: Re:

So… you are saying I should pay the same for car insurance as the guy that’s had 7 accidents in the last 10 years? Or non smokers should pay the same as smokers for health insurance? What’s your conspiracy here?

“This is also being implemented in the US by insurance companies”
Define this, and where when and by whom.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

No, not saying that at all.

I’m saying insurance companies should base their rates upon actual data that is linked as causation not simply correlation … and in many cases there is not even any correlation.

I would like to see the data that supports the claim that paying your utility bills late means you will get into an automobile accident. It’s bullshit.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“The correlation is that if you pay your utility bills late then you are also likely to skimp on car maintenance”

OR….. you had to fix the car to get to work to pay all those other bills and the car became the HIGHEST priority in this chain of events.

Also, you might have a low paying job that just doesn’t allow you to function in the economy like you should be able to. There will always be some 1%er siphoning money out of the economy, which FORCES the rest of us to do less with less.

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