Credit: Original article can be found here
Surveillance technology is projected to be a $62 billion industry by 2023, and it looks like that market will be controlled by China. In 2019, the world relies on Chinese technology—a majority of countries that use AI surveillance and facial recognition get it from China.
While many countries use American and Chinese surveillance tech together, China has far more exclusivity around the world. According to a report from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, tech from America and China are used in Australia, Brazil, India, Russia, and many European countries, as well as in the US and China themselves.
Many countries in Africa, the Middle East, South-East Asia, and South America use Chinese tech only. Meanwhile, Canada and New Zealand are the only countries that rely solely on American technology.
One reason for China’s apparent dominance in the surveillance sphere is that the country is uniquely set up to control the world’s semiconductor manufacturing for artificial intelligence. This is also the result of the Belt and Road Initiative launched in 2013 to strengthen infrastructure, trade, and investments with the rest of the world.
The problem with all this—aside from the implications for America’s current trade war with China—is the concern that China’s tech companies are not independent enough from the Chinese government to be trusted. Many fear that these companies could be providing their governement with backdoor access to the products they export and the infrastructure they install.
But many of these companies are already firmly embedded in the AI surveillance game; Huawei supplies tech to 50 countries. By comparison, American companies IBM, Palantir, and Cisco supply surveillance tech to only 26 countries between the three of them.
When you stop to consider that AI surveillance technology in China has advanced to the point that authorities can now identify you by the way you walk, it makes sense that some are questioning whether the wrong people will have access to this data.