BIG Brother-like mass state surveillance is being developed by China with streets full of cameras that can monitor citizens’ emotions and track their “social credit” scores.
The high tech systems will also help people snoop and rat on each other from the comfort of their homes — or on the go with their smartphones.
The Communist regime’s nightmare-inducing plans involve installing spy cameras in all places and using artificial intelligence to calculate a person’s “social score” which will determine benefits or punishments.
The sheer level of surveillance being planned is straight out of the dystopia created by author George Orwell in his book 1984, where the eyes of the state – Big Brother – are always watching you.
But now it is being made easy with 21st-century spy technology.
It comes as privacy campaigners told The Sun Online that China’s success in developing technology not only threatens the human rights of Chinese citizens but people across the world.
Dahlia Peterson, research analyst at Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology, told Sun Online: “China is developing an Orwellian-style state.
“Domestically, the most frightening part is that many people inside China remain unaware of the true scope of surveillance, and still welcome it as a source of ‘security’.
“In programs such as Sharp Eyes, local governments nationwide have even successfully convinced citizens to take part in surveilling each other. ”
China is developing an Orwellian-style state
Dahlia Peterson, Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology
Ms Peterson now feared China’s surveillance model may continue gaining legitimacy after the pandemic
She said: “This would only deepen China’s normative advantages by allowing Chinese surveillance companies strategic expansion on a global scale.”
Vidushi Marda, from human rights and privacy charity organisation ARTICLE 19, said it is feared this highly invasive technology could now spread around the world.
She told The Sun Online: “We think it is crucial to focus on China — not because it is a wildly different style of surveillance — but because Chinese tech companies have fuelled an international boom in governments’ acquisition of surveillance technology.”
We can now reveal some of the terrifying measures being developed by Beijing to keep tabs on its citizens in a very real version of Big Brother.
China has been developing a “social score” system that has also created a dystopian nightmare where citizens can track each other on radar-style “lowlife” scanners.
The nightmarish scheme blacklists “lazy” citizens who get into debt or spend their time playing video games in a creepy initiative that could have come straight out of Black Mirror.
The scheme was first unveiled in 2014 and has been trialed in cities and provinces each using their own system – tracking financial and social worth.
Millions of people with low “social credit” have been banned from taking flights and planes because of the system.
And then people with high credit get discounts, get shorter waiting times at government-run institutes and are more likely to get jobs.
In China’s next five-year plan, which covers 2021 to 2025, the regime has set out its ambitions to step up people watching even more.
It states: “We will also closely guard against, and a crackdown on, the infiltration, sabotage, subversion and separatist activities of hostile forces.”
Biometric surveillance is another sinister development being spearhead by the no-holds-barred Chinese state.
The northwestern region of Xinjiang, the home of the persecuted Uyghurs people, has often been described as the “testbed” for this.
But now the tech is used in all places of transport, such as bus, train or subways.
Among the tests in Xinjiang includes scanning cameras which “read” people’s emotions – identifying whether they might be a threat to the state.
It has also developed cameras which can detect who people are with a 99 per cent success rate based purely on the way they walk.
China dystopian system of mass surveillance offers a stark warning to the rest of the world about the dire consequences of ubiquitous facial and emotion recognition technology
Dr Matt Mahmoudi, Amnesty’s Artificial Intelligence Researcher
Dr Matt Mahmoudi, Amnesty’s Artificial Intelligence Researcher, said: “China dystopian system of mass surveillance offers a stark warning to the rest of the world about the dire consequences of ubiquitous facial and emotion recognition technology.
“Across the country, the government has rolled out projects such as ‘Skynet’ and ‘Sharp Eyes’ to keep the population under constant observation and control.
“People’s movements, interactions, even their expression – can be weaponised against them in China’s system of total surveillance.
“Nowhere is this more terrifying that in China’s Xinjiang Region, where it is estimated up to one million Uighurs have been arbitrarily held captive in so-called ‘re-education camps’ and are subjected to brainwashing and torture.
“The pervasive use of biometric surveillance acts means law enforcement can exact total control over the lives of the Uighur population by watching their every move.
“Facial and emotional recognition is by design a technology of mass surveillance and antithetical to human rights, which is why Amnesty International is calling to Ban The Scan.”
Predictive policing is another Orwellian innovation – once gain taken right out of science fiction, this time resembling the hit Tom Cruise film Minority Report.
Authorities link personal details on the mandatory ID card which people must carry with a huge database of information linked to that person.
The data includes CCTV footage of them, medical history, supermarket memberships, IP addresses, phone calls, social media usernames, delivery records, residential addresses, and hotel stays.
Record of friends or love interests, petitioning to the government and other subserve activity is also monitored.
Basically, the state can record everything people have been up to — and draw you to their attention if suspicious activity is predicted.
One scheme being developed is the so-called “Sharp Eyes” programme which aims to cover 100 per cent of all public spaces in cameras.
It is named after a quote from China’s former dictator Mao Zedong that “the people have sharp eyes” when looking out for neighbours not living up to Communist values.
Sharp Eyes has already seen more than 200 million public and private security cameras installed across China, reports tech and science journal One Eye.
China’s 2016 five-year plan set a goal for Sharp Eyes to achieve 100 per cent coverage of the massive country’s public spaces by this year, which has reportedly been achieved.
Dahlia Peterson, a research analyst at Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology, has recently published a study on the growing grip the regime is exerting on its people.
Ms Peterson said: “Unlike prior programs, Sharp Eyes places surveillance capabilities in citizens’ hands and encourages their direct participation.
“This strategy echoes the surveillance mechanisms of the Cultural Revolution ( 1966 until 1976), the period from which Sharp Eyes derives its name.”
Local residents meanwhile will have special TV boxes installed in their homes, according to One Eye.
This means they can watch live footage and press a button to summon the police if they saw anything amiss – with cams available to be viewed on smartphones.
This blocks access to a number of foreign websites, including Google-based services, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
Great Fire Wall Of China
Meanwhile, the Chinese Communist Party has been tightening its grip on the country’s heavily censored web which known to the rest of the world as the Great Wall of China.
YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook and western email accounts have been blocked – and all bloggers and influencers to have a state-approved credential before they are allowed to publish content.
Chinese citizens are also required to have their public online accounts verified by the shadowy Cyberspace Administration using personal information including IDs and phone numbers.
Authorities clearly identifying social media personalities will prevent users from “creating rumours online and damaging the stability and harmony of society”, authorities said.
Anyone discovered trying to get around the Great Firewall faces jail, under new laws.
China epic surveillance state has come under the spotlight during the Covid-19 pandemic which broke out just over year ago in the city of Wuhan.
While authorities have primarily used mobile location data and ID-linked tracing apps to flag people coming back from abroad for quarantine, the camera surveillance system has played a crucial role, according to officials, state media and residents.
The network has been used to trace the contacts of people confirmed as infected with the virus, and to punish businesses and individuals flouting restrictions.
But the digital dictatorship was also used to stifle criticism and track down and target people who speak out.
Just last week, a whistleblower was detained by Chinese cops for running a secret website exposing cover ups by the state in posts written in the Star Trek’s fictional language Klingon.
Wuhan activist Chen Mei, 28, along with a group of others, was involved in a project aiming to uncover what was happening as the Covid had already begun to spread in China.
The Terminus 2049 project was an open-source archive that keeps records of censored articles from Chinese media and in this case, was used to share information about the outbreak, in morse code or Klingon.
And last year, articles criticising China’s handling of the pandemic that were posted online in morse code and Klingon, were deleted by censors.