China using big data to detain people before crime is committed: report - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#14892764
Globe and Mail
Barely seven months ago, a senior Chinese official promised that artificial intelligence could one day help authorities spot crime before it happens.

In the country's far western Xinjiang region, it's already happening, with the establishment of a system that critics call "Orwellian" in scope and ambition, and which is being used to place people in political re-education.

Called the Integrated Joint Operations Platform, or IJOP, it assembles and parses data from facial-recognition cameras, WiFi internet sniffers, licence-plate cameras, police checkpoints, banking records and police reports made on mobile apps from home visits, a new report from Human Rights Watch finds.

If the system flags anything suspicious – a large purchase of fertilizer, perhaps, or stockpiles of food considered a marker of terrorism – it notifies police, who are expected to respond the same day and act according to what they find. "Who ought to be taken, should be taken," says a work report located by the rights organization.

Another official report shows how reports generated by IJOP are used to send people to an "Occupational Skills and Education Training Centre" where political re-education is carried out.

"We have documented the connection between a big-data program and detentions," said Maya Wang, senior China researcher at Human Rights Watch. "We are no longer saying that mass surveillance is deeply and widely intrusive when it comes to privacy rights, which of course is a big alarm. It goes further than that. People are being detained in an arbitrary manner because they are put in these political-education facilities."

Such re-education can involve forcibly detaining people for months at a time without charges to inculcate them in political doctrine considered acceptable by the Chinese state.

The system is being used in Xinjiang, a region whose largely Muslim Uyghur population has been accused of committing acts of terror in China and abroad. Uyghurs have fought in Afghanistan and Syria, and China has launched a series of "Strike Hard" campaigns in response.

The widespread use of political re-education is the latest attempt to root out what China calls extremism. Critics call it a racially motivated campaign directed at Uyghurs, who are being forced to pledge fealty to the Chinese state, study Mandarin Chinese and participate in cultural customs of the majority Han Chinese population.

Big data in policing "often exacerbates some of the biases," Ms. Wang said.

Chinese police theorists have identified specific "extremist behaviours, which include if you store a large amount of food in your home, if your child suddenly quits school and so on," she said. Train a computer to look for such conduct, and "then you have a big data program modelled upon pretty racist ideas about peaceful behaviours that are part of a Uyghur identity," she said.

The report "adds some pieces to the puzzle" over what is happening in Xinjiang, where it became clear over the last year "that tens or perhaps hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs were disappearing without having done anything illegal," said Rian Thum, a historian at Loyola University in New Orleans who has travelled extensively in Xinjiang.

"No Uyghur in Xinjiang today, not even the most submissive party loyalist, can go to sleep feeling certain that they won't be taken to the re-education camps," he said. "The notion of 'predictive policing' would go some way to explaining how people can disappear without having crossed any obvious line."

Chinese officials, however, have boasted that their new skill in sifting through information allows them to prevent the personal and societal damage that comes from crime.

The big-data platform in Xinjiang's Jiashi County, for example, "covers all sorts of information, such as geography, the migrant population, fertilizer purchases, gasoline and vehicles. Once finding abnormal data, the system will automatically alarm," a police officer named Xu Linglei told China's Nanfang magazine.

He added: "Before the application of big data, police often only arrested people after they had committed wrongdoings and the victims suffered losses as a result. Now, relying on information technology, they can take preventive measures in advance."

Jiashi County was seen as a template for the rest of Xinjiang, the article said.

A report on a website maintained by the Communist Party's Committee of Political and Legal Affairs further describes how "public security organs throughout Xinjiang have built an integrated information prevention and control circle, intensifying and increasing the information collection of citizens' 'eating, living, travelling, consumption and entertainment.'"

Real-time data collection and analysis across Xinjiang provided "an effective means for timely detection of the whereabouts of those who may be involved in terrorism activities," the report said.

China's Ministry of Public Security has formed a leading work group with a focus on big data. At a national conference held this January, Minister of Public Security Zhao Kezhi described China's ambitions.

The conference described efforts at all levels to "realize the acute perception and accurate prediction of various hidden dangers and crime," China Youth Daily reported.

Elements of the policing system in Xinjiang are being set in place elsewhere in China, too, including the collection of data and integration of systems. But Xinjiang appears to be unique in the use of artificial intelligence to detain people in political re-education.

Chinese companies are also boasting about their big data prowess abroad.

At the Winter Olympics in South Korea, for example, Alibaba built a large pavilion to describe its capabilities and offer its services to the outside world. Its "ET City Brain," for example, can be used to improve timing of traffic lights and employ artificial intelligence to quickly route emergency services to an accident.

But Alibaba also boasts about the system's value in "social governance and public security," saying in an information presentation: "With video recognition technology and location-based services, authorities can respond to incidents precisely and quickly."

Alibaba provided a person to describe the company's pavilion on the condition that it be off-record. The company declined interview requests at the Olympics.


Its all over.

Chinese police are using smart glasses to identify potential suspects
Image

Where this is heading makes Orwellian society seem like roses in comparison. Just waiting until the elite in Europe and America will begin to implement this type of technology.
#14892770
Fasces wrote:This seems no different from already existing policies in the USA and in Canada that flag purchases for law enforcement review, sensationalist title aside.


I think the point is there's little if at all balance of power in China, making one easily worry that the authorities will abuse with such a powerful tool.

On a side note, it seems that the Commies have killed another dissident.
#14892771
Depends which purchases. The article suggests people are being arrested for stockpiling food which sounds extreme if true. On the other hand, large fertilizer purchases are an issue depending on the fertilizer and so-on.

I'm guessing that Human Rights Watch is banned in China and so a lot of information like this comes from second-hand sources.
#14893086
What is the precise issue here? China is not a liberal state, nor does it pretend to be. The theology of inalienable rights granted by a creator is not part of their culture.
#14893089
Wikipedia wrote:Image
In recent years, Xinjiang has been a focal point of ethnic and other tensions. Recent incidents include the 2007 Xinjiang raid, a thwarted 2008 suicide bombing attempt on a China Southern Airlines flight, and the 2008 Xinjiang attack which resulted in the deaths of sixteen police officers four days before the Beijing Olympics.

In China, a centrally governed and organised non-liberal empire the government fastens its grip on its borderland where ethnic tensions and terrorist activities intensify to unprecedented levels. I'm being shocked.
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Beren wrote:In China, a centrally governed and organised non-liberal empire the government fastens its grip on its borderland where ethnic tensions and terrorist activities intensify to unprecedented levels. I'm being shocked.


It's more or less a non-issue -- China is simply flooding the frontiers with Han Chinese. In fact, this is more or less what they have been doing for the past three millennia.
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One Degree wrote:Everyone I know who has visited China loves it, but we still criticize them for not being Western liberals.
Maybe Western Liberalism isn’t the ideology many believe.

It's not a matter of ideology, if China were liberal they'd still do the same. I mentioned they're non-liberal because they don't even have to pretend to care about human rights and liberties.
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One Degree wrote:Everyone I know who has visited China loves it, but we still criticize them for not being Western liberals.
Maybe Western Liberalism isn’t the ideology many believe.

This is well put.

The cognitive dissonance with respect to China's illiberalism is actually a good benchmark for the relative bankruptcy of 'liberal values'. The irony is that China, and others, are admonished for not adhering to idealistic liberal notions which are not even fully observed in the centers of liberalism. There is a component of 'follow what I say not what I do' in it. In this respect, liberalism can be somewhat analogous to organized religion in ways. The State Department recently released its annual Human Rights report, and there was a bit of a backlash in the Chinese press, who accused the US of hypocrisy, and demanded that it was time the State Department include the US in its analysis.

Beren wrote:It's not a matter of ideology, if China were liberal they'd still do the same. I mentioned they're non-liberal because they don't even have to pretend to care about human rights and liberties.

China abides by a different sort of paradigm. The government is in some important respects beholden to the people, but this operates in different ways. There is a popular notion in China that if enough people care about a particular issue and make a big enough fuss about it, sufficient action will be taken. This isn't a formula without problematic aspects; for instance there is clearly an implicit mob mentality to it. But it is indicative of different habitual norms of operating. China's not yielding to foreign dictates with respect to acceptable conduct regarding governance is a matter of Chinese national pride. Chinese are actually pretty damn open these days about perceived issues within their system of governance, but I don't believe there is popular will to emulate the West. The Chinese are intent on creating a better system through homegrown mechanisms, and a lot of deference is afforded to the government in enabling this to happen and steering the ship. The government has delivered the goods, and as long as this continues, I think the pattern will prevail. I've heard it described as 'the most corrupt system which works'.
#14911738
Crantag wrote:I've heard it described as 'the most corrupt system which works'.


Confucius once said: "From of old, death has been the lot of an men; but if the people have no faith in their rulers (system in this case), there is no standing for the state."

Corruption is like prion. It will cause CJD in the society before you realize it.
#14911872
Patrickov wrote:Confucius once said: "From of old, death has been the lot of an men; but if the people have no faith in their rulers (system in this case), there is no standing for the state."

Corruption is like prion. It will cause CJD in the society before you realize it.

Care to expand on what CJD means?

Why even type that as an acronym, whatever it is, and just expect everyone to understand? :?:

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease?

Acronym abuse is out of control.
#14911887
Rancid wrote:ALL HAIL! XI JINGPING!!

I was hoping the next post would be an answer to the acronym mystery.

Xi Jinping is certainly a better leader than anything the US has produced lately. Hell, you have to go back pretty far in the US case.

Seems like sort of a paradox of US electoral politics. The people theoretically decide but the leaders which emerge are unpopular. Or failing that, corrupt beyond belief (Regan).
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