• 15 hours How To Spy On Yourself: The Doorbell To End Civil Liberties
  • 2 days Analyst Predicts Tesla Stock Will Soar To $500
  • 3 days Australian Billionaire To Invest In $88 Million Struggling Solar Project
  • 4 days Twitter-Shaming: The Biggest Threat To Any Business
  • 4 days Canada Looks To Become A Major Source For Critical Minerals
  • 4 days Hedge Funds Are Piling Into This Key Commodity
  • 6 days Trade Deal Not Likely Before Christmas 2020
  • 6 days America's $16 Trillion Debt Bubble Is About To Burst
  • 7 days Black Friday Breaks Online Shopping Records
  • 7 days Tesla's Biggest Competitor Is Hiding In Plain Sight
  • 8 days Are Celebrities Good Or Bad For Cannabis Stocks?
  • 9 days Venezuela’s Crisis Continues As Maduro Spends $5 Billion On Oil Deals
  • 10 days Elon Musk Claims 250,000 Orders For Cybertruck
  • 11 days How To Survive Thanksgiving Politics With Cannabis Gravy
  • 12 days The Fragility Of Monetary Policy
  • 13 days 5 Oligopoly Stock Picks For Your 2020 Portfolio
  • 13 days $7 Trillion In Unfunded U.S. Pensions As Domestic Debt Hits A Record High
  • 14 days Retail Is Alive And Well, But Only For The Rich
  • 14 days New Tech Could Unchain The Solar Revolution
  • 14 days China's Boldest Move Yet To Ditch The U.S. Dollar
Tesla's Biggest Competitor Is Hiding In Plain Sight

Tesla's Biggest Competitor Is Hiding In Plain Sight

Tesla’s biggest competitor isn’t producing…

How To Spy On Yourself: The Doorbell To End Civil Liberties

How To Spy On Yourself: The Doorbell To End Civil Liberties

The billion-dollar ‘smart’ doorbell company…

Analyst Predicts Tesla Stock Will Soar To $500

Analyst Predicts Tesla Stock Will Soar To $500

Tesla’s share price could soar…

  1. Home
  2. News
  3. Breaking News

The U.S.-Chinese Race To End All Privacy

Face

Four years ago, Edward Snowden poignantly noted that “No system of mass surveillance has existed in any society, that we know of to this point, that has not been abused.”

At this point, some may view Snowden—who fled to Russia after leaking thousands of documents from the NSA—as a rather prophetic amid mounting data breach scandals, abuses of personal information in an election campaign and, now, the rise of controversial facial recognition software.

In the midst of U.S.-China-led global trade war, both countries are competing on another front: The race to develop the best facial recognition software--a market that is expected to grow from $4 billion in 2017 to almost $8 billion by 2022.

Even though U.S. facial recognition technology market still remains the largest, China is developing new technologies at faster clip. And if it isn’t controversial enough yet, it should be.  

In 2017, Chinese companies filed for 530 camera and video surveillance patents, while the U.S. entities filed for only 96. That’s not surprising considering the fact that last year, the Chinese government announced plans to develop an artificial intelligence (AI) industry worth $150 billion by 2030.

Beijing is working on a nation-wide surveillance network capable of monitoring its 1.4 billion citizens. Related: Life Returns To S&P 500 Ahead Of Earnings Report

In the U.S., advocates of privacy and civil rights are trying to prevent the use of face recognition for government agencies. And the argument will always be that we have to keep pace with China, at all costs, technologically.

Privacy advocates say it could lead to automatically identifying and tracking anyone, not just criminals, and can (and will—ask Snowden) be used to violate and possibly remove all traces of privacy.  

Last month, nearly two dozen Amazon shareholder groups sided with privacy advocates and pressured Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos to stop selling a facial recognition technology to law enforcement agencies. Rekognition customers include law enforcement agencies from several US states.

They’re concerned that the technology—call Rekognition—will help the government cement its mass surveillance capabilities.

But then there’s China, where there are far fewer constraints to developing such software, and where there is no public pressure weighing on an insidious outcome.

Beijing is working side-by-side with the country’s tech industry, many of the top stars being graduates of U.S. universities and former employees of major US-based tech companies. Of the one million foreign nationals enrolled at U.S. schools, about one-third are from China, and many of them are going back home now, to put their new skills to work for the government.

Two Chinese companies are becoming world leaders in the deployment of facial recognition software.

In April, SenseTime became the world's highest valued AI startup after raising total of $1.2 billion at a valuation of $4.5 billion. Its main partner is the Chinese government, which uses its systems for national surveillance.

The second is Megvii, which began as a facial recognition startup but now also develops body, object and text recognition software. Its Face++ platform is considered the world’s largest and is reportedly used by more than 300,000 developers in 150 countries to identify faces. The company raised $460 million last November, with a valuation of almost $2 billion. 

Its main investors are said to include a Chinese state fund and Alibaba’s Ant Financial but the main client China's government, particularly police departments at the local level, is a major client. 

Megvii’s vice president Xie Yinan reportedly said that with its demand for facial recognition technologies, China’s government has helped the company quickly innovate its technology.

"The government is pushing the need for this technology from the top, so companies don't have big obstacles in making it happen…In America, people are too busy discussing how they should use it."

Related: 85 Year Old’s Are Still Working Because They Can’t Retire

But that might change soon in US as well, despite the increase of privacy violation concerns.

The development of the software has, after all, been fast-tracked by the US administration, which is obsessed with securing the southern border and collecting more data from arrivals into the U.S. As of early next month, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will begin piloting a new facial recognition system at the Mexican border.

Facial recognition at U.S. airports is becoming routine as facial-scanning pilot programs are already underway at six airports and more are set to expand this year.

International arrivals is where it starts. But once this is allowed, it will snowball into something that Snowden easily predicted—an end to privacy, entirely, starting with China. This is where America becomes China.

By Michael Kern for Safehaven.com

More Top Reads From Safehaven.com:

Back to homepage

Leave a comment

Leave a comment