The Orwellian phrase “Big Brother Is Watching” has been fodder for conspiracy theorists and dystopian fearmongers for decades. But it’s no longer fiction, at least in China. The most prolific true surveillance state is in place. Everything anyone does in public in metro areas is being tracked and recorded. Many things happening in private are also being tracked and recorded. And as China officially launches its “social credit score” system this year, they will be using this data to keep a firm control over the population.
The world is reacting, and not in the way freedom-loving Americans would expect. I’ll admit, I was shocked to learn how many nations are watching China closely and starting to mimic their endeavors. They’re installing CCTV cameras every and pushing for biometrics usage in more and more areas. If that doesn’t sound familiar, it’s because you’re not paying attention. In the United States, CCTV cameras are going up everywhere and various government agencies are embracing the biometrics trend. Currently, it’s not nefarious for the most part. The embrace of these technologies is for practical purposes. But any technology as powerful as this, with tracking equipment connected to AI and stored in vast databases, can and eventually will be used against the people.
The video above from VICE’s Elle Reeve, who is now a correspondent for CNN, explores the surveillance angle of China’s plan. They will soon have over 600 million CCTV cameras spread around the nation monitoring everything. They already use facial recognition to allow (and track) people to come and go from buildings. They use it to register (and track) their food orders at restaurants, making recommendations based on their history. They even keep tabs on (and track) how many sheets of toilet paper people are using in public restrooms. One of the systems used is called… wait for it… Skynet. Seriously.
If this sounds like something that could never make it out of China, think again. Similar programs are being explored around the world at smaller scales as many, particularly Marxists, see a future where everyone is kept safe and in line through government’s control of all situations. Over 3000 suspected criminals have been apprehended through the subway systems alone, a statistic that prompted Dubai to install a similar system in their airports. The tracking of employees throughout their day, from the moment they enter the building (don’t be late) to the moment they leave has productivity implications that have many private businesses’ interests piqued. And the list goes on and on.
It couldn’t happen in America, right? Wrong. Currently, there is no national or state law that prohibits this type of surveillance. In fact, drones, police body cameras, and CCTV cameras in many major metros are already feeding into databases for allegedly “future” projects to be considered. A handful of cities have outlawed the practice, but the numbers are growing much slower than the interest the technology is sparking. With no legislative protection in place, we’re truly entering uncharted territory without anything other than wide-open speculation to drive ill-conceived initiatives.
But the real risk in all of this is what will happen in two to five years when results of China’s program starts making people say, “Hmm.” China’s initiative will be “successful,” at least on paper. There will be fewer crimes, less waste, more productivity, more socially conscientious actions, and most importantly more government control among a people who are used to being controlled already. That’s when we really need to worry as American Marxists start pushing for similar programs with appealing Chinese numbers to back their initiatives. As much as we’d like to think most Americans value their freedom, there are woefully few who would be willing to pass on convenience or safety at the expense of liberty. The initial responses to the Patriot Act tell us this. America’s embrace of social media, smart devices, ever-listening assistants, and authoritarian law enforcement practices paint a dark future that will be easy for surveillance fanatics to exploit.
We must not ignore this any longer. Big Brother is already forming here, and when the surveillance state in China proves to be wildly successful, Marxists in America will have data points to make their case. We need to cut this off before it manifests fully.
We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.
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