China has plans to make Minority Report a reality for its citizens


Posts: 1,246   +24
Staff member
WTF?! The Chinese government's surveillance efforts are now focused on what can only be described as the perfect Orwellian nightmare. Apparently, regulators are looking to use a variety of data points collected on Chinese citizens to build profiles from which an automated system could predict potential dissidents or criminals before they have a chance to act on their impulses.

It's no secret that China is building a very different Internet than the Western world. In fact, it is sometimes referred to as a "surveillance economy" due to its questionable policies. The Chinese government seeks to control its citizens' online activity to the point of putting curfews on watching livestreams, recording the location of social media users, putting limits on how much time kids can spend playing online games, building a social credit system, and mandating direct access to user data stored on private cloud servers.

Over the past several years, China has invested a lot of resources in keeping tabs on its citizens as well as tourists, not to mention monitoring the emotions of minorities from the Muslim-dominated Xinjiang region. Facial recognition is one of the Chinese government's favorite technologies, and it's estimated that well over half the world's surveillance cameras are installed in the country.

To get an idea of how deep these efforts go, Chinese tech companies have been trying to shape global surveillance standards for years. However, it gets worse — a New York Times report suggests China is looking to use the vast amounts of data it's been collecting for years to create a surveillance system that is worryingly similar to what was portrayed in the 2002 movie Minority Report.

The new system is designed to comb through data collected on citizens' daily activities and detect patterns and aberrations that could predict when crimes or protests are likely to happen. Leaked documents reveal this automated surveillance will build profiles that will include gender, race, biometric data, criminal records, mental illnesses, and more. When multiple people are considered high-risk and gather in the same place, an automated alert will be sent to nearby police units.

For now, China is still seeking bids from companies that are willing to provide the technology needed to build this advanced surveillance system. In the meantime, Chinese police are said to have built a database of over 2.5 billion facial images and a large surveillance contractor called Megvii has reportedly built software that can link a person to all the digital accounts it uses to access online services and track their movements and daily activities.

Image credit: Parker Coffman

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Posts: 4,564   +6,867
"When multiple people are considered high-risk and gather in the same place, an automated alert will be sent to nearby police units."

The sad irony is that this absolutely WILL cut down on crime. But it will also create smarter criminals and much more determination among the pro-freedom movement. They'll also be a burgeoning market for lifelike masks with seller in every back ally.


Posts: 1,282   +1,241
I wonder which western nations are already doing this.
The UK already do this with GCHQ, they already know who known terrorists are and it's about catching them in the act otherwise you can't convict them.

The difference with China is they will throw anyone in prison for criticism of the Communist party with no trial and they will be labelled enemies of the state.


Posts: 447   +654
Better question, which US based tech companies are helping them accomplish this? We already know that there was a lot of help from US companies on their social credit score system. All of this is coming to the West and it's already here actually, just not as apparent yet.


Posts: 3,178   +4,257
TechSpot Elite
I mean, the NSA probably has zettabytes of storage out of the goodness of their heart.
Ok, but having some data (relative) and processing it effectively are 2 different things. Letalone having detailed profiles on everyone.

China is the closest country to doing it (they're the most obsessive over this type of thing), and even they don't have it all down yet. You really think an underfunded western gov't branch magically did this already?


Posts: 526   +990
Typical BuT wHaT aBoUt WeStErN nAtIoNs deflection to avoid discussing what's happening in China.
How many nations are doing imprisonment and atrocities on millions of own citizens simply due to their ethnicity? Last one was Germany under hitler and now China.
Great leap forward was a great success and so was Tiananmen square discussion for peaceful resolution of doubts.
Any other nation in world which brutally suppressed discourse, internet and even falling sick to the extent China has done? People getting dragged out, locked forcibly without food, kids separated from parents by government for falling sick.... The list goes on and every day more harrowing incidents keep coming up.
And yet.... some will try to divert attention from reality by endless whataboutism.


Posts: 323   +265
Typical BuT wHaT aBoUt WeStErN nAtIoNs deflection to avoid discussing what's happening in China.


I love when I see "eastern" affiliates (normally Russian or Chinese) which try to deflect talking about their methods:

- in western countries you have MONITORING or SURVEILLANCE to help everyone's security. Freedom is untouched. I can say that I don't like the government X and happens nothing. EXACTLY what happens now: everyone writing here about a western government X can do it without issues;

- in eastern countries like Russia or China, the same is to protect the GOVERNMENT (dictatorship), so no-one is free to say what they want. If they do... bad things will happen. That surveillance is to help the dictators, not the people. People there "exist to work" to make Chinese or Russian oligarchs the richest.

The rest are Hollywood movies. And if the western countries would be so bad on giving freedom, those movies or TV shows would be possible in the first place.