With recent developments in technology, it’s become easier than ever for people with positions of power to take control and surveil the masses. The leader in facial recognition technology and other forms of surveillance, China, has recently made great strides in this sector. One source writes, “SPYING ON CITIZENS IS NOTHING NEW IN COMMUNIST CHINA. Under Mao’s reign, residents were required to rat out their “rightist” neighbors. Today, technology has made surveillance easier and more comprehensive. An estimated 170 million surveillance cameras now cover China, and that number is expected to increase to 626 million by 2020, according to IHS Markit.” It seems that as Americans debate the privacy issues surrounding data collection by Facebook and Google, Chinese tech companies are steamrolling ahead, perfecting algorithms and using government subsidies to design ever more advanced surveillance technology.

This extremely dangerous occurrence is outrightly violating basic human rights to privacy, yet continues to thrive in its own whirlpool of political banter.  Another source that I found actually has proven that autonomous AI programs are soon to regulate and manage law enforcement. The article illustrates a disturbing depiction of the future that technology holds, writing “it simply observes its environment, studying and classifying patterns of life, continually learning. The camera will detect anomalies in the behavior and movement of people and vehicles and objects, in environmental conditions, without ever having been instructed as to what such an anomaly might look like. Every object will be detected and classified. Metadata will be captured under strict privacy rules. No imagery will be stored or streamed unless it relates to an incident or an anomaly. Unless it’s marked.” Such a vivid description comes from recent developments in cloud and edge computing.

Finally, some implementations of surveillance in our day-to-day lives are already present. According to yet another source, Amazon has formulated a plan in which to involve facial recognition in certain doorbell products. “While the details are sketchy, the application describes a system that the police can use to match the faces of people walking by a doorbell camera with a photo database of persons they deem “suspicious.” Likewise, homeowners can also add photos of “suspicious” people into the system and then the doorbell’s facial recognition program will scan anyone passing their home. In either case, if a match occurs, the person’s face can be automatically sent to law enforcement, and the police could arrive in minutes.” This terrifyingly detailed plan seems too fleshed out to be a coincidence, so it seems that plans really are in place to intertwine technological mass surveillance into our daily lives. 

CC BY-SA 4.0 When does Governmental Surveillance Go Too Far? by Jacob is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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