The world is moving closer to a new cold war fought with authoritarian tech

Unlike the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the authoritarian regime in Venezuela in 2017 announced a smart identity card for its citizens that combines employment, voting and medical information with the help of the Chinese telecom company ZTE. Huawei, another Chinese telecom company, boasts a global network of 700 local locations smart city technologyAccording to the company’s annual report for 2021. This is from 2015, when the company was spinning around 150 international contracts in cities.

Chinese surveillance platforms used for police and public security

Democracies are implicated in digital authoritarianism as well. The United States has Huge monitoring system Built on the basis of Chinese technology; A recent study by industry research group Top10VPN showed that more than 700,000 US camera networks are operated by Chinese companies Hikvision and Dahua.

American companies too Support a lot of digital authoritarian industry They are key players in complex supply chains, making isolation and accountability difficult. Intel, for example, servers powers For Tiandy, a Chinese company known for developing “smart interrogation chairs” said to be used in torture.

Hikvision and Dahua network cameras outside China

What is behind the code?

Digital authoritarianism goes beyond software and hardware. More broadly, it is about how a state uses technology to increase its control over its citizens.

Blackout on the Internet due to government agencies, For example, it has been increasing every year for the past decade. A country’s ability to cut off the internet is linked to how much it owns the internet’s infrastructure, a hallmark of authoritarian regimes like China and Russia. As the Internet becomes more and more important in all walks of life, the power of blackouts to destabilize and harm people increases.

Early this year, when anti-government protests rocked Kazakhstan, a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the country shut down the internet almost entirely for five days. During this time, Russian troops landed on major cities to suppress dissent. Power outages cost the country More than 400 million dollars Cut off basic services.

Other tactics include templates to use data merging and artificial intelligence to work on monitoring data. During the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit last year, representatives of China Hosted a panel discussion on Strategic Algorithms for a Thousand Cities, which guided the public on how to develop a “national data brain” that integrates different forms of financial data and uses artificial intelligence to analyze and understand it. According to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization website, 50 countries are “in talks” with the Thousand Cities Strategic Algorithms Initiative.

Meanwhile, the use of facial recognition technology is spreading globally, and investment in advanced visual computing technologies that aid in understanding camera footage has grown, particularly in Russia.

Leave a Comment