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China has been known to have the worlds biggest state-controlled surveillance system designed to spy on its more than a billion people. It keeps track of everyone’s daily activities whenever they step out their door in the morning. Buying coffee in the coffee shops or even in buses or trains. The government has eye on everything and anywhere. Even in some of its cramped streets. The government maintains a closer look on every move their people make to ensure that at any hint of trouble. They’d be able to respond more effectively. Which seems to be quite very advantageous if you look at it on the surface. But we couldn’t be so sure just yet.
Most importantly, this grand surveillance lockdown is in fact a gross violation of peoples privacy in many different countries. Even in the Philippines. Where people really doesn’t want the government to keep an eye on them.
China’s own CCTV system also imposes a complex karma style algorithm or better known to us ‘‘Social Credit Score” which grades people based on their jobs, family connections and habits. So if you work for the Communist Party of China or their your mother or father’s side is close to Xi Jinping. You will get a much higher grade which then directly affects your children’s future score as well. Which means that the higher your score – the easier for you to book flights around the country or even renting a car or getting a loan etc.
The social credit system encourages people to be more supportive with the Chinese Communist Party. And that any hint of dissent can easily be quashed with just a moments notice. Given that the government has eyes everywhere.
However, as much as many of the Chinese people embraced this totalitarian surveillance system without any hiccups. Still there are others who still finds this grossly unfair and questionable at most.
For example, if you are a journalist investigating corruption in the government. You will most likely be having lower social credit score since its your job to chase up against corrupt officials in the party. Even worst, if you are a human rights advocate. You could even have less travel options and most of your actions is completely monitored 24/7. Or easily tracked by authorities or worst arrested.
The Chinese surveillance system only empowers the corrupt and the wealthy. Keeping the people silent and meek.
The Chinese Communist Party strong and firm hold over its citizens must and always be the top priority. Because at any time. The people may even try to rise against them and overthrow the entire party. In China, there’s been numerous disappearances of human-rights activists, journalists or even religious leaders who has been accused of exposing state secrets or charged with the variety of trumped up charges just to keep them in jail.
Duterte’s 20 Billion CCTV Project with China
And then here’s Rodrigo Duterte. He wants those shiny Chinese CCTV’s installed in almost every government offices in the country. Though it may help keep an eye on everyone especially in corrupt agencies like the Bureau of Customs.
Still, this would give the government to spy on politicians he hates. If you remember Duterte has since been widely criticized for its brutal War against Drugs which left as many as more than 20,000 people were mercilessly killed and butchered since he assumed office.
So if we give Duterte the keys to these CCTV systems. Consider it be easier for his death-squads to assassinate key people.
What is the dangers of having China install those CCTV’s?
We all know that China is our enemy. It is without question that Chinese forces invaded the West Philippine Sea and illegally built artificial islands there which is in gross violation to International Law. We’re also aware that China’s historical claims in the West Philippine Sea has since been debunked during a court ruling released last 2016 in favor of the Philippines under the Permanent Court of Arbitration.
Given that despite Duterte and Xi’s blossoming relationship. China is still an enemy and will continue to be an enemy for as long as China failed to return the West Philippine Sea back to us and pay huge fines when it destroyed many of our critical coral-reef systems which is detrimental to marine life in these important fishing areas in the country.
Huawei blacklisted by the West for spying – to setup those CCTV’s?
According to the Senate enquiry conducted by Senator Ralph Recto that there’s been two companies who bids for the installation of the CCTV cameras. The first one was China Machinery Engineering Corp and then Huawei Technologies. It appears that during the bidding.
What are the typical features of these CCTV’s anyways?
- Advanced facial recognition system that can track people even in crowds
- High-tech night vision capabilities
- Can see through smoke or tinted windows
- Can track multiple targets all at the same time
- Can automatically match up name, age, address etc
- Can automatically spot car plate numbers and match in the database
- Can zoom in even on business cards, documents, ID Cards, labels of objects etc from a distance
- Using advanced Artificial Intelligence network to analyze people’s actions
Why is this dangerous to the Philippines?
Despite assurances by the DILG officials that China won’t have access to these devices but its hard to really accept that fact. China manufactures the chips on each of these devices so it’s highly likely that China could plant chips inside these devices to download malicious scripts then allows Chinese hackers control over the CCTV Systems and ultimately the database itself.
It seems that DILG officials appears was simply out of touch with reality. These devices obviously will require Internet access in order to be controlled from a central location. And in doing so would effectively enable the device to phone home or download scripts which would allow Chinese agents to control the entire system.
What’s in it for us anyways? The issue here is that we’re actually giving China access to our government offices so they can monitor and read confidential documents through the CCTV system. Imagine the threat posed by these CCTV systems from an enemy like China who invaded our seas and gorged our natural resources for the benefit of their own people? Imagine the glaring consequences and the threat to our national security if such CCTV Cameras?
Beware. China is selling these cameras at an extremely cheap price so they can get more countries to buy and install them. And then China can used those cameras for themselves.