Just When You Thought Surveillance Tech Couldn’t Get Any More Orwellian…

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One of my favorite TV shows was Person of Interest. In that show, a genius programmer was hired by the government to develop an artificial intelligence (AI) computer to tap into and analyze communication feeds and predict activities that may pose a threat. Unfortunately, as you can imagine, things spun out of control; the system that was designed to benefit society was not always beneficial to citizens.

As amusing as it is to watch escapist fiction such as this, it’s not so enjoyable when you realize it’s no longer fiction. China has already developed the infrastructure to envelop their citizens in this protective surveillance net and has begun that slippery slope of using AI to not only catch activities deemed undesired by the government – it’s starting to take action against those observed.

In the city of Shenzhen (and most likely others), when an offender is observed jaywalking via video surveillance, they will publicly humiliate you by showing your face on screens located around the city. Now that’s bad enough but they’re going a step further. Those identified will have their cell phone ‘pinged’ and be sent an immediate fine.

By the way, Intellifusion, the company behind the AI system involved is in talks with WeChat and Seina Weibo (China’s equivalents of Facebook and Twitter).

The surveillance state is expanding, and even children are not exempt.

You may think there must be some kind of check-and-balance system built in to ensure that children would be protected so that they wouldn’t suffer the same consequences as an adult. You’d be wrong.

As you can imagine, this outing of a child in such a public manner has sparked outrage. Instead of backing down on their stance, the police have doubled down and stated that no one is above the law and its draconian reaction. Of course they have. I know if I wanted to start weeding out hidden miscreants, I’d set up exactly this scenario. Guess what’s going to happen to those expressing their discontent.

You may think that all this isn’t so bad because it’s just surveillance out in the street, where people can see you anyway, so what’s the big deal? Well, this is just the beginning. In order to crack down on children playing on gambling sites on their computers, corporations are now starting to institute facial recognition utilizing the user’s webcam. Of course children shouldn’t be gambling but now long until this in-home video requirement expands to include normal, everyday websites such as social media? How long until they convince you it’s much more convenient for you to just use cameras that you can have installed in your home to protect children, assist in gaining you access to what you need, and help you increase your social credit by watching your good deeds at home at the same time?

Surveillance systems are insidious and are finding their way into our homes.

In case you’re one of those ‘careful’ types who wouldn’t allow that kind of nonsense in your home, Huwawei and other very large manufacturers of electronics in China and around the world have become big suppliers to China’s security services. All they need to do is develop surveillance systems that help improve our lives at the same time so we actually pay for the privilege. Systems such as Ulo not only watch your home for you, it becomes part of your family. Can you think of other surveillance systems that we’ve now graciously invited into our homes?

What has begun is the dismantling of due process and the systematic expansion of systems that can be mined for data. Not only is every action observed, anything that the program decides is aberrant or not beneficial can now be punished without any intervention or legal protection – and no one is safe.

Now, most likely, you are reading this from a country outside of China, so why do you care? The AI in the fictional TV show based in the U.S., Person of Interest couldn’t ever become a reality, could it? Systems in the U.S. have been able to automatically scan license plates for a while now and alert police to stolen vehicles. Cameras are now on pretty much every intersection in any city in the country and along the highways. The infrastructure to start this kind of surveillance state is already in place. All it would take is to somehow tap into this system with an AI to observe human behavior and perhaps even judge and jury like what’s happening in China. Unfortunately, this is also becoming a reality.

Some surveillance systems can detect concealed weapons and alert authorities.

A company called ZeroEyes has developed a system that can detect and alert the presence of even concealed weapons, resulting in a visual pat-down that only requires a camera in the room. Of course, if this is used to protect a facility that lets you know that entry is tacit approval, that’s one thing. ZeroEyes is already working with school systems and is moving toward a deal with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.

Another company that is in the weapon-identification game is called Athena, but it has taken this one step further. Not only does their AI detect hidden weapons, it detects and alerts to human behavior itself. It learns how people move and their facial expressions and then decides when someone is acting strangely and alerts the authorities.

How long until they plug these AI systems into cameras all throughout town and even in our homes? How long until these systems start being used in ways that we were assured would not happen? How long until those with criminal or political intentions start using AI and surveillance to coerce behavior and punish those who don’t toe the party line?

What do you think?

Do you think we will reach a point where being surveilled will be completely unavoidable? Are there things you do to reduce or avoid being watched? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

About Graywolf

Graywolf is a former Counterintelligence Agent and US Army combat veteran. His experience as an agent, soldier and government contractor on assignments around the world gives him a unique perspective on the world and how to deal with it. His website is Graywolf Survival.

Guest Contributor

Guest Contributor

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  • We continually trade “Freedom” for “Safety and Security”. The People demand it every time they become outraged over anything.
    Even folks in the community of preparedness who say they don’t want it will turn right around the next day and ask for more of it. It doesn’t matter if it’s at the border, the airport or the school it will seep into the remainder of society. It’s the nature of the beast.

  • Many people aid this world of surveillance. How many people have Ring on their door bell? How many people have smart phones? How many people have Alexa or Echo? What about TV that watch you without your consent? I don’t own a TV nor Ring nor a smart phone. My phone is a pay as you go for when I travel from home, otherwise it is off and put away. I don’t own video machines, game machines, etc. My electronic is a small DVD player, a toaster oven, a computer. I do have a few alternative medicine items that run on electricity, but none connected to the grid. I choose not to have WiFi. My house phone is on VOIP. However when we go to bed at night all electricity is turned off. My stove and fridge are propane. I even use a old wind up wall clock. Less is more for me. I am looking for a new stove (used). My current is from 1950’s. My husband’s handicap van is from 2000. My car is from 1955. The less ties you have to the system, the less control they have on you.

    • So very wise, you are so right! The Amish are ever so strange , tho very wise as well. The more people allow themselves to become ensnared by technology, the more enslaved they become until they like a fly stuck to flypaper have no hope of escape.

    • Some very smart choices Mette! I am with you on some of those. Alexa and Echo are just no brainers for me. Living like the Jetsons has its appeal but I know those devices will be used for evil. I have a smart phone (only “smart” thing in the house!) for convenience sake but try to be conservative with it. It really doesn’t take much to get on someone’s radar these days.
      I admire your persistence at staying out of the system 🙂

  • I’ve got 45 good reasons why I won’t go quietly, or allow myself to be cornered then coerced into buy into their criminal political reasoning. Aggression in the age of intellectualism comes off as administrative law, which they believe they can push upon the people with impunity.

    I’VE GOT NEWS FOR THEM. If they continue to be that stupid, they will end up with a country so pissed off, civil war won’t be close behind.

  • Stuff of Orwell’s nightmares & ours. I tried reading “1984” I could not finish it as I discerned it did not end well, sadly it seems it will not end well in this either the really, really real world of our AI technocracy nightmares! Technology is becoming inescapable as well as indestructible.

  • I think it’s time that governments, organized criminal gangs that they are, be dissolved and replaced by nothing. Governments are instituted to defend and protect the rich and powerful, never the people.

    Freedom is the absence of legislation. If you want to be free, you have to stand on your own feet and live without having some organized government use force and violence to control your actions.

  • The majority will be false-flagged into wanting it and the rest of us will be required to toe the line or face the consequences, just like what is happening with vaccines. Many of the most rabid personal freedom folk want their own freedoms, but want to infringe on other people’s freedoms. Not very many people think these days……

  • P.O.I. was one of my favorite TV series, and not just because of the characters and writing. I felt that it served as a warning to the viewers of what we are now seeing become a reality, which is probably part of the reason it got cancelled.

    Alexa eavesdrops, nanny cams and home security systems spy on us, even our cellphone cameras can be remotely accessed by the carrier company or other third parties.

    Best solution I can think of is to minimize the use of these items. Don’t bring them into your home or place of business. Cover “selfie” lenses with tape or a sticker. Keep your digital presence to a minimum. Maybe have your bol off grid and keep a prepaid burner phone for emergency contact if the government goes full dissident crackdown, if you think you may fall into that category.

  • [1] – Why would any country, company or website scammer resort to using Artificial Idiots?

    [2] – This battle between Stalkers and Privacy is recent. When did people turn over the Internet to corporations (new owners of the Trashnet), advertisers (con artists), and government (they, the people no longer ‘we the people’) for surveillance purposes?

    The Trashnet, once known as the Internet, is what we buy computers for, pay our providers so we may have access, pay for the ads via the products we buy, and in return for all we pay we are allowed to give up our privacy – is that “Duh! or what?

    Even many of the anti-surveillance, and pro-privacy sites have resorted to using stalkers. The bottom line is; it’s all about the bottom line… for investors, for payroll, for the DotCom kahunas, greed and knowing more about the site visitor then they know about themselves.

    It’s not hard to see that most web site now are put together for the sole purpose of stalking the visitor. Anything the visitor gets from the site is purely coincidental.

    The World Wide Web has been reduce to locality of visitor – that is, most searches take the user to local web sites, regardless if the sites contain the information keywords or not – so long as the visitor is sent to a site that pays to lasso and harness the visitors devices.

    More scoundrels imitating VPN services, more websites loaded with kiddie-kewl bells and whistles using templates pre-riddled with stalkers, and governments bottomless pit of money from those they victimize across all borders, constantly changing the rules to force everyone into the Control gauntlet. The pedophiles, peeps and other perverts and the con artists, scammers, shysters and hackers are nothing compared to the raping and pillaging by the governments and their pillow-mate corporations that shunned the Internet less than 15 years ago.

    It’s very hard, and extremely expensive to ‘get off the grid’. For those Googies already assimilated into the Google / Microsoft / MAC collective – – – escape is futile. For others, there is still a chance of regaining their privacy, but the Googie generation is being prepped, conditioned, readied and some are already working at fighting the resistance. For now, it’s Googie propaganda at it’s worse. Who know what weapons will be given them in their fight to disband privacy.

    Where will Privacy be in 2 years? Like the B/S sign at a retail store entrance that states “For your security, all bags must be left at the customer service counter” so too in turn is the policy that ‘For your privacy, all about you must be left with any web site you wish to view’.

    I can’t wait for the storming of the Bastille.


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