The U.S. trade war with China is focused on products ranging from agricultural goods to household appliances, but the United States and other democracies should worry about a different type of Chinese export: digital authoritarianism.
China has consistently been ranked by digital advocates as the world’s worst abuser of internet freedom. The country, however, isn’t just tightening online controls at home but is becoming more brazen in exporting some of those techniques abroad including in Africa, says a new report from the U.S.-based think tank Freedom House.
Earlier this month, when Nikki Hayley, the US Ambassador to the UN, described China’s subjugation of Xinjiang’s Uighurs as being “straight out of George Orwell”, she pretty much nailed it. Xinjiang is a state surveillance laboratory, with unconstrained deployments of early-stage, commercial technologies being used to suppress an ethnic minority.
Upwards of a million people forced into re-education camps. Police checkpoints. Facial, iris and license plate recognition. Geofenced travel restrictions. Biometric registration. GPS tagging. Blanket video surveillance. And, of course, mandatory communications monitoring. This is the reality of a high-tech surveillance state.
Read why Forbes’ Zak Doffman believes that China has opened AI’s Pandora’s Box in Xinjiang, and why we should fear the developments there, on Forbes.
Privacy International has released a report that looks at how powerful governments are financing, training and equipping countries with surveillance capabilities.
Countries with powerful security agencies are spending literally billions to equip, finance, and train security and surveillance agencies around the world — including authoritarian regimes. This is resulting in entrenched authoritarianism, further facilitation of abuse against people, and diversion of resources from long-term development programmes.
Read more about the disturbing findings of the new report by Privacy International on Help Net Security.
The NSA gobbled up more than three times as many records of phone calls and text messages of Americans last year than it did in 2016, according to a transparency report released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). The fifth annual report (pdf), released last week, revealed that the NSA collected 534 million call records of Americans in 2017; that’s up sharply from the 151 million records collected in 2016, which was the first full year after the USA Freedom Act surveillance rules kicked in.
Why the NSA tripled its domestic surveillance in 2017 was not explained, but ODNI spokesman Timothy Barrett told Reuters, “We expect this number to fluctuate from year to year.” He added that the NSA “has not altered the manner in which it uses its authority to obtain call detail records.”
Read more about the transparency report revealing a significant spike in NSA’s surveillance of call and text records on CSO.
If you care about privacy and human rights, then information from a new report about secret global surveillance networks and the sharing of intelligence between governments is not good at all. In fact, the sharing of surveillance with intelligence and other governments is so “alarmingly under-regulated” that it is ripe for human right abuses. Privacy International pointed out that it’s not just your government potentially holding sensitive information about you, but other governments scattered across the globe.
Most intelligence sharing agreements are kept secret, not just from the public, but also from some countries’ oversight bodies. Without proper safeguards in place, “states can use intelligence sharing as a way of outsourcing surveillance to each other, bypassing any constraints and limits on their own intelligence gathering — in effect, [they’re saying,] ‘I’ll spy for you, if you spy for me.’”
Read more about the alarming findings of the new report from Privacy International on CSO.
As more IP advancements mature and strategic business partnerships come to fruition, it’s evident that the physical security industry is keeping pace with this evolution. Here are three next-generation trends that will impact decision-makers and leave a lasting mark on the security landscape.
The desire to add new cameras to an existing system or the need to comply with security policies that mandate longer retention times for recorded video is leading many organisations to exceed anticipated storage requirements.
Read more about the three trends shaping the surveillance sector in 2015 on IFSEC Global.
Given all of the high-profile data breaches that have made headlines recently, the issue of securing surveillance camera networks and other physical security systems has become a hot topic in the security industry of late. With an ever-increasing number of security sensors becoming internet-connected as the industry continues to migrate to IP-based technology, there is realistic possibility that those devices could be accessed by hackers or potentially used as a gateway to enter the larger corporate network.
Read more about the 12 best practices for securing surveillance networks against cyber attacks on Security Info Watch.
A newspaper discovers that bad actors are spying on cell phone communications of Norwegian politicians using the StingRay mobile surveillance equipment.
The journalists of a daily newspaper in Norway have discovered a mobile phone surveillance equipment hidden around the Government and Parliamentary building and apparently there is no information on who has used it.
Read more about the surveillance report of Norway’s Prime Minister and Parliament using Stingray equipment on Security Affairs.