Unparalleled Public Surveillance in China

 

Most people are familiar with the idea that China is an up and coming world superpower. This may or may not be the case, as the Chinese government has a history of lying about their renewable energy progress and GDP, among many other statistics they have been caught outright fabricating. Regardless, it is plain to see at least in the major urban centers, that China is no longer a “developing nation” technologically speaking, even if its current tyrannical government employs political ideology as broken as the Soviet Union. Here we will take a look at the dark side of surveillance technology, which when manufactured for an oppressive state can create terrifying science fiction esque dystopian realities for its citizens.

To start, China has a truly massive drone surveillance program. Recently, they have even developed a type of drone which from the ground is almost indistinguishable from a bird. The drones even flap their wings instead of being fixed wing or outfitted with rotors. Alongside a fleet of regular drones, it is no surprise that China brags it now has the entire city of Beijing under video surveillance. Add to this the saturation of city streets with analytics capable cameras and it is safe as a Chinese citizen to assume you are being watched any time you step outside, and indeed even in your own home through cameras in televisions and phones. This is due to the fact that Chinese manufactured electronics are notorious for coming stocked with spyware and malware from the beginning.

What is China doing with this massive amount of data, including that which they collect on essentially every Chinese internet user? They use it to determine what they call a “social credit” score. This is a score of a person’s overall “social value” and it is compiled from everything from your internet search history to whether or not you jaywalk in the city. In Chinese cities, facial recognition software identifies every person, car or bike and reports its behaviors in traffic. Black marks on your record can come from everything you can imagine, from your use of alcohol to whether or not you purchase “too many” video games. All of this data is tied to your face and therefore your identity. Those with poor scores are restricted from many mundane activities, from buying plane tickets to sending your child to private school. In fact, there are already around 15 million Chinese who have found themselves on the wrong side of this largely computer controlled list. And because these decisions are the product of a computer system, there is nothing in the way of due process or appeal.

Perhaps the most horrifying reality of mass surveillance in China is the way that it is used to suppress dissent and identify “non trustworthy persons”. Within the last few months, a young woman was imprisoned for simply uploading a video of her splashing ink on Xi Jianping, the Chinese leader. Many westerners are not aware of the fact that even an act as harmless as this can and does lead to hundreds of thousands imprisoned in re-education camps and even locked away in psychiatric wards where their minds are often destroyed with heavy psychotropic drugs until they have had their personalities remolded to fit the narrative of the state. These gross abuses of power go largely unchecked, as China has a permanent seat on the UN human rights council. If this isn’t enough reason to avoid Chinese security products, I do not know what is.

 

Due to the presence of malware on Chinese made security goods, Security Technology of South Texas does not use these products in our projects. Anything we integrate into access control and surveillance systems is made by companies with no ownership or ties to any state, which is a good thing when you know the abuses of power associated with these Chinese products. These facts stand as an example of the kinds of misuse of surveillance and facial recognition technology that exist in some countries, and as a warning to the people of any free nation.

 

Security Technology of South Texas is happy to offer custom designed systems such as this from the ground up or integrated into existing infrastructure, where possible. We are available 24/7 at admin@gostst.com  on our website or via phone at 210-446-4863.

Avigilon Analytics

 

Avigilon is a Vancouver based security equipment designer and manufacturer, perhaps most well known for the software they have developed to analyze raw video data, with no input other than the pixels streamed through an HD camera setup. “Open Video Management” using what they term “Self-Learning” video analytics is the cornerstone of any modern video analytics solution. The company also manufactures several lines of high quality HD cameras and access control gear, but it is not a requirement that all equipment be from Avigilon. Avigilon analytics is performed on-site with a proprietary set of hardware and software, and is effectively limited only by the quality of the video input.

What does this all mean for the consumer? For the residential market, there is not much application, and most home owners would see the cost as extraordinary, considering the increasingly cheap residential offerings from mainstream security integrators. It is also generally not necessary to run such extensive analytics in a residential setting. What Avigilon’s video analytics are particularly useful for are larger, enterprise-scale security operations, such as car lots, schools, and highly trafficked gates. This is something our company has considerable experience with, both in installing and integrating with other cameras and access control systems, as well as servicing and maintaining this type of equipment.

For example, let’s look at our most popular security solution featuring Avigilon; car dealerships. Avigilon’s analytics recognize a car versus some other object and distinguishes between a person and an animal or some other moving object which is not a security threat. The degree to which any software is actually “self-learning” is certainly up for debate, though the type of software underpinning these analytics systems is similar in structure to the kind of predictive software used by Google, Amazon, or Facebook to predict future purchases and analyze behaviors. The idea is that the software is able to self-code within the limited scope of object detection and threat discernment. This implies that each individual system that is integrated with Avigilon analytics will be slightly different over time for each installation in order to better perform in that particular setting.

Security Technology of South Texas is well versed in customizing analytics solutions to each customer based on their concerns and security needs. As we move into the future, analytics will become a de facto component of any competent access control and video surveillance installation, as it is able to reduce or eliminate false alarms, the traditional bane of functional, digital security.

Security Technology of South Texas is happy to offer custom designed systems such as this from the ground up or integrated into existing infrastructure, where possible. We are available 24/7 at admin@gostst.com  on our website or via phone at 210-446-4863.Avigilon-logo

Sources: Avigilon.com