Welcome to your world. Yes, it is yours, and you are partly responsible for it. The next time you fancy a thought that liberty and freedom are free, consider the routine of your everyday life and its cost, the technology you use, the amount of personal information you voluntarily give away, and the politicos you voted into office that presumably represent your values and point of view.
What does Jeremy Bentham’s panopticon mean in the age of digital surveillance?… “The basic setup of Bentham’s panopticon is this: there is a central tower surrounded by cells. In the central tower is the watchman. In the cells are prisoners – or workers, or children, depending on the use of the building. The tower shines bright light so that the watchman is able to see everyone in the cells. The people in the cells, however, aren’t able to see the watchman, and therefore have to assume that they are always under observation.” – The Guardian, Jul. 2015
The most glaring example of big brother creep is China. Everyone is tracked one way or another, whether criminals or not. A colossal amount of surveillance data collected by the government is stored in a centralized database, and biometrics and artificial intelligence (A.I.) are utilized to apprehend criminals and create a social credit score (SCS) that calculates everyone’s “trustworthiness” in real-time. A population of over 1.3 billion is in the process of being “marked” with a publicly-available record. Individual human sovereignty is vanishing.
China’s Terrifying Social Credit System…
You might argue that we have a similar system in the West with credit bureaus such as Equifax and Experian, private organizations that collect identification and credit information and sell that information to banks, employers, and consumers in the form of credit scores and reports. If you watched the above video, you realize there is a huge difference between our credit systems and China’s Orwellian nightmare.
China testing facial-recognition surveillance system in Xinjiang… “’A system like this is obviously well-suited to controlling people,’ says Jim Harper, a counter-terrorism specialist and former US homeland security official. ‘Papers please’ was the symbol of living under tyranny in the past. Now, government officials do not need to ask. The Bloomberg report is the latest to detail the cutting-edge techniques being rolled out as Xinjiang becomes a real-life laboratory for surveillance. Other methods include the harvesting of biometric data, smart phone scanners, voice analysis and compulsory satellite-tracking systems for vehicles. ‘They are combining all of these things to create, essentially, a total police state,’ said William Nee, a China campaigner at Amnesty International. No journalist’s visit to Xinjiang goes unnoticed. An Associated Press correspondent was stopped by police during a recent visit and told his movements were remotely tracked with surveillance footage. During a 12-day tour of China’s total surveillance state, the Wall Street Journal’s vehicle was hemmed in by police after cameras spotted its out-of-town number plates.” – The Guardian, Jan. 2018
AI machine can identify 2 BILLION people in seconds… “Dragonfly Eye can scan through millions of photographs that have been logged in the country’s national database. This means it has a collection of 1.8 billion photos on file, including visitors to the country and those taken at ports and airports. It may also have access to the photos of every one of Hong Kong’s identity card holders, although Yitu has refused to confirm this. The cutting-edge technology is now being used track down criminals, with the early stages of use showing it has been a hugely successful. The machines can easily recognize you among at least 2 billion people in a matter of seconds.” – DailyStar, Dec. 2017
I suspect a Dragonfly Eye-type system integrated with a pre-crime algorithm is not far off in the United States. Many systems are already in use without your consent or knowledge. Here are a few examples out of many.
Shopping Malls Are Using Facial Recognition, License Plate Scanning to Improve Safety – Time, Oct. 2016
Privacy Fears Over Artificial Intelligence as Crimestopper… Delaware is poised to deploy ‘smart’ cameras in police cruisers to help authorities detect a vehicle carrying a fugitive, missing child or straying senior. The video feeds will be analyzed using AI to identify vehicles by license plate or other features and ‘give an extra set of eyes’ to officers on patrol. The program is part of a growing trend to use vision-based AI to thwart crime and improve public safety, a trend, which has stirred concerns among privacy, and civil liberties activists who fear the technology could lead to secret ‘profiling’ and misuse of data.” – Security Week, Nov 2017
7-Eleven is bringing facial-recognition technology pioneered in China to its 11,000 stores in Thailand… “The technology is commonly used in China where the government and private companies are implementing its use for everything from buying food to getting a loan.” – Business Insider, Mar. 2018
Sports teams are using facial recognition to learn more about their fan bases… “An increasing number of sports and entertainment venues are using facial recognition technology to learn more about their fans — and it has become big business for teams and advertisers who market in arenas.” – CNBC, Apr. 2018
Facial recognition gives police a powerful new tracking tool. It’s also raising alarms… “’It’s not too late for someone to take a stand and keep this from happening,’ said the CEO of a facial recognition company.” – NBC, Jun. 2018
Thousands Of Stores Will Soon Use Facial Recognition, And They Won’t Need Your Consent… “Retailers are turning to facial recognition software to identify potential thieves by comparing scanned images of shoppers’ faces against a database.” – BuzzFeed, Aug. 2018
UK Police Use AI System to Stop Crime Before It Happens… “The National Data Analytics Solution (NDAS) works by using a ‘combination of AI and statistics’ to assess the risk of someone becoming a victim of gun or knife crime, as well as them becoming a victim of modern slavery. The team has gathered more than a terabyte of data from local and national police databases – which included stop and search records and logs of crimes committed. The software then crunched the numbers, finding 1400 indicators that could help predict crime, 30 of which were ‘particularly powerful.” – PC, Nov. 2018
The DEA and ICE are hiding surveillance cameras in streetlights… “Christie Crawford, who owns Cowboy Streetlight Concealments with her husband, a Houston police officer, said she was not at liberty to discuss the company’s federal contracts in detail. ‘We do streetlight concealments and camera enclosures,’ Crawford told Quartz. ‘Basically, there’s businesses out there that will build concealments for the government and that’s what we do. They specify what’s best for them, and we make it. And that’s about all I can probably say.’” – QZ, Nov. 2018
It is not just external surveillance threats that are of concern. Citizens are voluntarily implanting microchips under their skin like domesticated pets. Do you understand where this is going?
In Sweden, people implant microchips in their hands to pay for things – Financial Post, Nov. 2018
Are you ready for a chip implant?… “A company called Biohax International has already ‘installed’ around 4,000 chips in customers, inserted just below the thumb. They can use the implant to open secure doors, pay for tickets, and share emergency information with medical personnel.” – FOX, Nov. 2018
The debate over privacy and surveillance is not limited to government. The private industry has more information about us on file and less oversight or regulation. The “Internet of Things” is where smart thermostats and self-regulating insulin machines for diabetics may appear to improve our quality of life, but new technologies leave behind intimate data trails about our habits and behavior. Private companies and our government know what we are searching for and how we spend our days, as well as some of our deepest, darkest secrets.
Should the private industry be allowed to sell your information to third parties? Who owns the data? Does the government need a warrant to access your data in the name of national security? Is it possible to go completely off the grid anymore?
There are difficult questions our society will need to answer and legislate as technology continues to advance. What are you doing to preserve your privacy and human sovereignty?
“And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name. Here is wisdom Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six.” – Revelations
In case you missed my series on AI:
- Part 1: Artificial Intelligence is Coming for Your Clothes, Boots, Harley, and Jobs
- Part 2: Artificial Intelligence is Coming for Your Brain
- Part 3: AI: The Greatest Job Disruptor in History Now – CrushTheStreet Mini-Documentary
- Part 4: Artificial Intelligence – “End of the Job” May Not be What You Think – Learn a Trade
- Part 5: AI’s Ultimate Impact on Jobs is in Limbo and the Quantum Quandary
Plan Your Trade, Trade Your Plan
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