Image courtesy of Michael Gaida/Pixabay

The high-tech surveillance state is not restricted to China: Interview with Maya Wang of Human Rights Watch

By Dan Drollette Jr, September 8, 2022

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Image courtesy of Michael Gaida/Pixabay

As readers may know from media exposés, the Chinese government has already implemented an authoritarian surveillance state in its province of Xinjiang, where the Uyghur Muslim minority is constantly subject to cameras, facial recognition algorithms, biometrics, abundant checkpoints, big data, and constant screening—making them live inside what some have called a “virtual cage.” Some of this technology has spread to other parts of the country, in one form or another. But what may have gotten lost in the shuffle is that there is no reason for the misuse of these technologies to be confined to communist China.

One of the first researchers to become aware of the size and extent of this surveillance apparatus was Maya Wang, whose ground-breaking research on China’s use of technology for mass surveillance has helped to galvanize international attention on these developments. In this interview with the Bulletin’s Dan Drollette Jr., Wang explains how she learned of what was going on, what technologies are being used, and the thinking behind its implementation on the part of the Chinese government—and how this techno-authoritarianism could be a taste of what is to come.

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Martin Voelker
Martin Voelker
12 days ago

Gerd Gigerenzer has also written about ‘sleepwalking into surveillance’ here. I was unaware of the extent of the surveillance in the US until I read this, something of a Chomskyan moment for me as the media had told me a lot about ‘the enemy China’s’ surveillance but little about our own. https://mitpress.mit.edu/9780262046954/how-to-stay-smart-in-a-smart-world/ In discussions I’ve often raised the issue of the absolute need for a police surveillance state if a country wanted to scale up nuclear, especially with ubiquitous SMRs, but people here in the US don’t want to hear it – “it can’t happen here”. At least the mention… Read more »