China is Exporting AI Surveillance Systems Worldwide
Wed, April 14, 2021

China is Exporting AI Surveillance Systems Worldwide

China supplies AI surveillance technologies to more than 60 countries across the globe / Photo Credit: Scharfsinn via Shutterstock

 

More and more countries are deploying advanced artificial intelligence surveillance to monitor, track, and generally keep an eye on their citizens. According to Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP), a foreign-policy think tank dedicated to advancing cooperation between nations and promoting active international engagement, at least 75 out of 176 nations across the world are actively using AI technologies for surveillance purposes. 

They use AI surveillance for facial recognition systems (64 countries), smart city/safe city platforms (56 countries), and smart policing (52 countries). One of the nations heavily investing in AI surveillance is China. The think tank released a report calling Beijing a global driver of “authoritarian tech.” This is after the country was found to be using AI surveillance to crack down on Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in the far-western Xinjiang region. Reports also showed that the country uses AI surveillance and predictive-policing system to oppress Uighurs and send them to internment camps.

Chinese firms have also exported AI surveillance technology to more than 60 nations such as Iran, Myanmar, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe. “Technology linked to Chinese companies—particularly Huawei, Hikvision, Dahua, and ZTE—supply AI surveillance technology to 63 countries, 36 of which have signed onto China’s Belt and Road Initiative,” the report said. 

It also mentioned that Huawei Technologies Co. is responsible for exporting AI surveillance technology to at least 50 countries. According to The Japan Times, Japan's largest and oldest English-language daily newspaper, China is also encouraging governments to purchase their equipment through soft loans. “This raises troubling questions about the extent to which the Chinese government is subsidizing the purchase of advanced repressive technology,” the report said. 

Aside from China, Japan and the US are also supplying AI surveillance technology to 14 countries and 11 countries, respectively. “Other companies based in liberal democracies—France, Germany, Israel, Japan—are also playing important roles in proliferating this technology,” it added.