As part of the U.S. campaign to make sure that no country interferes in the internal politics of another country, “China’s ‘Abusive’ Facial Recognition Machine Targeted By New U.S. Sanctions”:
It has been coming, but the decision by the U.S. government to add a further 28 Chinese entities to its Commerce Department blacklist will still come as a shock. And the headlines will be dominated by the fact that in amongst those new additions are China’s leading AI surveillance unicorns. In short, the U.S. has just blacklisted China’s facial recognition industry, citing “human rights violations and abuses in the implementation of China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs, Kazakhs, and other members of Muslim minority groups in Xinjiang.”
There may not be a good answer (except that Americans are always right?) to the question of what weight to assign security from jihad versus personal privacy. Certainly the Chinese are less willing to tolerate the risk of incidents such as the following:
- Boston Marathon bombing (jihadists would not have been admitted to China because they generally don’t admit refugees or asylum-seekers as immigrants)
- 2015 San Bernardino attack (would not have occurred in China because Syed Rizwan Farook’s parents would not have been allowed in as low-skill immigrants)
- Orlando nightclub shooting (Omar Mir Seddique’s parents similarly would not have been admitted to China as immigrants)
- 2017 New York City truck attack (Sayfullo Habibullaevich Saipov would not have been admitted to China as a low-skill chain migrant)
They’re also less willing to tolerate the kind of street crime and violence that Americans in Baltimore, Detroit, New Orleans, etc. accept as inevitable.
Let’s ignore this question of how a society should balance privacy versus security for the moment and think only in terms of practicalities. In a country in which the wearing of masks to filter out air pollution is common, how can a surveillance state based on facial recognition work? Anyone who doesn’t want to be recognized can simply don a mask, no?