“The Communist Party has directed one of the country’s largest state-run defense contractors, China Electronics Technology Group, to develop software to collate data on jobs, hobbies, consumption habits, and other behavior of ordinary citizens to predict terrorist acts before they occur,” reports Bloomberg.
“The program is unprecedented because there are no safeguards from privacy protection laws and minimal pushback from civil liberty advocates and companies, says Lokman Tsui, an assistant professor at the School of Journalism and Communication at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, who has advised Google on freedom of expression and the Internet. The project also takes advantage of an existing vast network of neighborhood informants assigned by the Communist Party to monitor everything from family planning violations to unorthodox behavior.”
Of note, “New antiterror laws that went into effect on Jan. 1 allow authorities to gain access to bank accounts, telecommunications, and a national network of surveillance cameras called Skynet.” Sigh.
We reported recently on the media lockdown in China that makes it hard to get a clear picture of how this unfolds on the ground, and on the Creepy Sesame Credit System that will feed data into this new security network. The civil liberties ramifications of this consolidation are enormous.
Effectively administered, this would seem to be the end of free expression in China, mere years after it pecked its first hole in the eggshell. Speaking of holes, re-read your favorite dystopian novels until further details emerge, because we’re not sure how deep this one goes.
Related via The Guardian: China bans depictions of gay people, adultery, one night stands, cleavage and reincarnation on television
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