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September 24 2019

mr-absentia

China Scores Businesses, and Low Grades Could Be a Trade-War Weapon - The New York Times

«Beijing is increasingly amassing information now divided among various government agencies and industry associations — including court decisions, payroll data, environmental records, copyright violations, even how many employees are members of the Communist Party — and using it to grade businesses and the people who run them, according to state media, government documents and experts.

Companies that get low grades can be banned from borrowing money or doing other essential tasks. Their owners or executives could have their bank accounts frozen or be forbidden from traveling.

It isn’t just aimed at Chinese businesses. In letters sent to the companies, officials have threatened to give United Airlines, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines black marks on their records if they don’t bend to Beijing’s wishes. FedEx could face a similar punishment.

China calls it the social credit system. By next year, Chinese leaders had hoped to start an ambitious nationwide program focused on punishing or rewarding individuals. It was aimed at replicating the credit scoring system common in the United States and other places, as well as taming behavior in a country where laws are inconsistently enforced.

Civil libertarians warned that it would create a digital Big Brother that would intrude into everyday Chinese life. But the system has yet to materialize for individuals on a mass scale.

For many businesses, however, social credit has become a fact of life. In September, China’s central economic planning agency announced that it had completed a first evaluation of 33 million businesses, giving them ratings from 1 for excellent to 4 for poor. China hopes it will someday become a nationwide regulatory tool, harnessing the country’s growing skills in big data and automation, to help the Communist Party keep the business world in line.

“It’s supposed to affect the decision making of businesses to conform to what the party wants,” said Samantha Hoffman, a fellow at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, a think tank.

Loren Fei, the 30-year-old-daughter of a silk factory owner, has been added to a blacklist of businesses and their owners. Because her father couldn’t pay his bills, she said, her bank accounts have been frozen and she lost her job and her ability to travel.

“My family really wants to pay back the money, and the system is making it impossible,” Ms. Fei said.

The authorities are testing the system as a tool to bend foreign companies to the Communist Party’s political views.

United, Delta and American received letters last year from Chinese aviation officials saying their social credit score could be hit unless their websites labeled Macau, Hong Kong and Taiwan as part of China. Lower scores would lead to investigations, the possibility of frozen bank accounts, limitations on local employees’ movement and other punishments, according to a letter sent to United and seen by The New York Times.

Representatives of United, Delta and American Airlines confirmed changing their websites but declined to comment specifically on the matter.

Social credit is one aspect of the Communist Party’s efforts under Xi Jinping, its top leader, to strengthen its hold over the country. The authorities are installing separate facial-recognition technology and other monitoring systems to quell dissent as well as stop crime. They have taken a tougher line on media and worked to give the party a greater role in offices and classrooms.»

September 19 2019

mr-absentia

How China’s surveillance state was a mirror to the US for whistle-blower Edward Snowden

South China Morning Post, 17 Sep. 2019

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«In his book Permanent Record, published on Wednesday, the former US spy agency contractor who now lives in exile in Russia, detailed how he fled to Hong Kong and then Moscow after creating one of the most serious security breaches in American history.

Snowden, who was a technician subcontracted to the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency for seven years, said he began to have suspicions about secret post-September 11 US surveillance programmes after he was asked in 2009 to brief a conference in Tokyo on how Chinese spy agencies were targeting the US intelligence community.

Preparing for the briefing, Snowden said he became aware that China’s surveillance of private communications was “utterly mind-boggling”. He was initially “so impressed by the system’s sheer achievement and audacity that I almost forgot to be appalled by its totalitarian controls”, he said.

He then began to feel disturbed when he realised that America, an internet and software power, might have done similar things to its people and the world.

“There was simply no way for America to have so much information about what the Chinese were doing without having done some of the very same things itself, and I had the sneaking sense while I was looking through all this China material that I was looking at a mirror and seeing a reflection of America,” he said.

“What China was doing publicly to its own citizens, America might be – could be – doing secretly to the world.”»

mr-absentia

China's Huawei is driving AI surveillance tools in Africa — Quartz Africa

«At least 75 out of 176 nations surveyed globally are actively using AI technologies for surveillance purposes, according to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. These include facial recognition systems, smart policing tools, and the establishment of safe city platforms. The leading vendors of these systems globally are Chinese firms, led by Huawei, which has supplied these technologies to at least 50 states worldwide.

The study’s author, Steven Feldstein, wrote these tools were being used to “accomplish a range of policy objectives—some lawful, others that violate human rights, and many of which fall into a murky middle ground.”

African countries are still struggling to adopt AI technologies, with the report noting that less than one-quarter of countries investing in these systems. That’s partly explained by the fact the continent is still struggling with internet connectivity.

Yet Chinese companies are quickly penetrating African markets, offering soft loans for governments to purchase their equipment and promising to set up and manage these systems. In Kenya, for instance, Huawei has helped install video systems that deployed 1,800 HD cameras and 200 HD traffic surveillance systems across Nairobi. In Zimbabwe, the Guangzhou-based developer CloudWalk announced a controversial deal in 2018 to oversee a large-scale facial recognition program in collaboration with authorities.

Most of these arrangements have come under scrutiny especially in light of how China harnesses technology for social control—particularly among ethnic Uyghur Muslims in its restive northwestern Xinjiang region.»

mr-absentia

How China Uses High-Tech Surveillance to Subdue Minorities - The New York Times

China’s high-tech apartheid in Xinjiang.

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«How China Turned a City Into a Prison

Developed and sold by the China Electronics Technology Corporation, a state-run defense manufacturer, the system in Kashgar is on the cutting edge of what has become a flourishing new market for technology that the government can use to monitor and subdue millions of Uighurs and members of other Muslim ethnic groups in Xinjiang.

Treating a city like a battlefield, the platform was designed to “apply the ideas of military cyber systems to civilian public security,” Wang Pengda, a C.E.T.C. engineer, said in an official blog post. “Looking back, it truly was an idea ahead of its time.”

The system taps into networks of neighborhood informants; tracks individuals and analyzes their behavior; tries to anticipate potential crime, protest or violence; and then recommends which security forces to deploy, the company said.

On the screen during the demonstration was a slogan: “If someone exists, there will be traces, and if there are connections, there will be information.”

A New York Times investigation drawing on government and company records as well as interviews with industry insiders found that China is in effect hard-wiring Xinjiang for segregated surveillance, using an army of security personnel to compel ethnic minorities to submit to monitoring and data collection while generally ignoring the majority Han Chinese, who make up 36 percent of Xinjiang’s population.

It is a virtual cage that complements the indoctrination camps in Xinjiang where the authorities have detained a million or more Uighurs and other Muslims in a push to transform them into secular citizens who will never challenge the ruling Communist Party. The program helps identify people to be sent to the camps or investigated, and keeps tabs on them when they are released.

The Trump administration is considering whether to blacklist one of the Chinese companies at the center of the Xinjiang effort, Hikvision, and bar it from buying American technology. Hikvision is a major manufacturer of video surveillance equipment, with customers around the world and across Xinjiang, where its cameras have been installed at mosques and detention camps. C.E.T.C. owns about 42 percent of the company through subsidiaries.

“Xinjiang is maybe a kind of more extreme, more intrusive example of China’s mass surveillance systems,” said Maya Wang, a China researcher for Human Rights Watch who has studied the technology in the region. “These systems are designed for a very explicit purpose — to target Muslims.”»

mr-absentia

March 19 2018

mr-absentia

July 29 2017

mr-absentia

WikiLeaks - Target Tokyo

Press Release

Today, Friday 31 July 2015, 9am CEST, WikiLeaks publishes ‘Target Tokyo’, 35 Top Secret NSA targets in Japan including the Japanese cabinet and Japanese companies such as Mitsubishi, together with intercepts relating to US-Japan relations, trade negotiations and sensitive climate change strategy.

The list indicates that NSA spying on Japanese conglomerates, government officials, ministries and senior advisers extends back at least as far as the first administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, which lasted from September 2006 until September 2007. The telephone interception target list includes the switchboard for the Japanese Cabinet Office; the executive secretary to the Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga; a line described as ‘Government VIP Line’; numerous officials within the Japanese Central Bank, including Governor Haruhiko Kuroda; the home phone number of at least one Central Bank official; numerous numbers within the Japanese Finance Ministry; the Japanese Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry Yoichi Miyazawa; the Natural Gas Division of Mitsubishi; and the Petroleum Division of Mitsui.

Today's publication also contains NSA reports from intercepts of senior Japanese government officials. Four of the reports are classified TOP SECRET. One of the reports is marked ‘REL TO USA, AUS, CAN, GBR, NZL’, meaning it has been formally authorised to be released to the United States' "Five Eyes" intelligence partners: Australia, Canada, Great Britain and New Zealand.

The reports demonstrate the depth of US surveillance of the Japanese government, indicating that intelligence was gathered and processed from numerous Japanese government ministries and offices. The documents demonstrate intimate knowledge of internal Japanese deliberations on such issues as: agricultural imports and trade disputes; negotiating positions in the Doha Round of the World Trade Organization; Japanese technical development plans, climate change policy, nuclear and energy policy and carbon emissions schemes; correspondence with international bodies such as the International Energy Agency (IEA); strategy planning and draft talking points memoranda concerning the management of diplomatic relations with the United States and the European Union; and the content of a confidential Prime Ministerial briefing that took place at Shinzo Abe's official residence.

Julian Assange, WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief, said: ‘In these documents we see the Japanese government worrying in private about how much or how little to tell the United States, in order to prevent undermining of its climate change proposal or its diplomatic relationship. And yet we now know that the United States heard everything and read everything, and was passing around the deliberations of Japanese leadership to Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK. The lesson for Japan is this: do not expect a global surveillance superpower to act with honour or respect. There is only one rule: there are no rules.’

WikiLeaks Investigations Editor Sarah Harrison said: ‘Today's publication shows us that the US government targeted sensitive Japanese industry and climate change policy. Would the effectiveness of Japan's industry and climate change proposals be different today if its communications had been protected?’

Japan has been a close historical ally of the United States since the end of World War II. During a recent Presidential visit to Japan, US President Barack Obama described the East Asian country as ‘one of America’s closest allies in the world’. Today's publication adds to previous WikiLeaks publications showing systematic mass spying conducted by US intelligence against the US-allied governments of Brazil ‘Bugging Brazil’, France ‘Espionnage Élysée’ and Germany ‘The Euro Intercepts’; ‘All the Chancellor's Men’.

Read the full list of NSA high priority targets for Japan published today here.”

mr-absentia

June 25 2017

mr-absentia
  • New Japanese Anti-Terror Law Could Hurt Social Trust, Lead to Self-Censorship (Sputnik International, Jun. 16 2017)

    “A controversial ‘anti-conspiracy’ law passed by Japan’s parliament on Thursday could damage mutual trust between Japanese people and lead many to enact self-censorship, experts told Sputnik.”

  • Japan Could Launch Wave of 'Mass Surveillance' Amid New Security Bill - Snowden (Sputnik International, Jun. 1 2017)

    “Japanese citizens could face a wave of ‘mass surveillance’ amid government efforts to adopt a bill that could strengthen police powers to enhance counterterrorism measures, US National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden told the Japanese Kyodo news agency in an interview.

    The whistleblower added that the consequences for Japanese society could be even more severe if the adopted bill would coincide with the use of the XKEYSCORE data collection system.

    ‘This is the beginning of a new wave of mass surveillance in Japan,’ Snowden said.

    According to him, the situation in the Asian country was reminiscent of the security situation in the United States shortly after 9/11.”

May 27 2017

March 03 2017

mr-absentia
Spyware in Windows: Windows Update snoops on the user. Windows 8.1 snoops on local searches. And there's a secret NSA key in Windows, whose functions we don't know.
Microsoft's Software Is Malware - GNU Project - Free Software Foundation

[posted: Sep. 7 2015. source]

mr-absentia

Microsoft’s new small print – how your personal data is (ab)used

Windows 10 - Windows Surveillance Edition.

“A French tech news website Numerama analysed the new privacy policy and found a number of conditions users should be aware of:

By default, when signing into Windows with a Microsoft account, Windows syncs some of your settings and data with Microsoft servers, for example ‘web browser history, favorites, and websites you have open’ as well as ‘saved app, website, mobile hotspot, and Wi-Fi network names and passwords’. Users can however deactivate this transfer to the Microsoft servers by changing their settings.

More problematic from a data protection perspective is however the fact that Windows generates a unique advertising ID for each user on a device. This advertising ID can be used by third parties, such as app developers and advertising networks for profiling purposes.

Also, when device encryption is on, Windows automatically encrypts the drive Windows is installed on and generates a recovery key. The BitLocker recovery key for the user’s device is automatically backed up online in the Microsoft OneDrive account.

Microsoft’s updated terms also state that they collect basic information from you and your devices, including for example ‘app use data for apps that run on Windows’ and ‘data about the networks you connect to.’

Users who chose to enable Microsoft’s personal assistant software ‘Cortana’ have to live with the following invasion to their privacy: ‘To enable Cortana to provide personalized experiences and relevant suggestions, Microsoft collects and uses various types of data, such as your device location, data from your calendar, the apps you use, data from your emails and text messages, who you call, your contacts and how often you interact with them on your device. Cortana also learns about you by collecting data about how you use your device and other Microsoft services, such as your music, alarm settings, whether the lock screen is on, what you view and purchase, your browse and Bing search history, and more.’ But this is not all, as this piece of software also analyses undefined ‘speech data’: ‘we collect your voice input, as well your name and nickname, your recent calendar events and the names of the people in your appointments, and information about your contacts including names and nicknames.’

But Microsoft’s updated privacy policy is not only bad news for privacy. Your free speech rights can also be violated on an ad hoc basis as the company warns:

‘We will access, disclose and preserve personal data, including your content (such as the content of your emails, other private communications or files in private folders), when we have a good faith belief that doing so is necessary to’, for example, ‘protect their customers’ or ‘enforce the terms governing the use of the services’.”

[posted: Sep. 7 2015. source]

June 01 2015

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Tags: Surveillance
Reposted fromSAIGONMARKET SAIGONMARKET

May 30 2015

mr-absentia

“Obama warned that inaction to extend key Patriot Act provisions, which can extend the [NSA spying] program for two months, could hinder counterterrorism efforts by the NSA.

He said that there are only a ‘handful of senators’ who are blocking the extension of those provisions.

Section 215 of the Patriot Act allows the NSA to collect any telephone and business records relevant to a counterterrorism investigation.

The section, which expires at midnight on May 31, was rejected by the Senate on May 23. The vote was 45-54, which fell short of the 60-vote threshold.

‘I don't want us to be in a situation in which for a certain period of time those authorities go away, and suddenly we're dark,’ Obama said.

‘Heaven forbid we've got a problem where we could have prevented a terrorist attack or apprehended someone who is engaged in dangerous activity, but we didn't do so simply because of inaction in the Senate,’ the US president added.”

Obama urges Congress to renew NSA spying program (PressTV, May 30 2015)

May 15 2015

mr-absentia

Israel sentences Palestinian to 9 months for Facebook posts

“The Israeli magistrate's court in Jerusalem handed the sentence to Omar al-Shalabi after he was convicted of inciting anti-Jewish violence and supporting ‘terror’ in posts and comments on Facebook.

Al-Shalabi was one of eight Palestinian men detained in December 2014 in East Jerusalem under the same charges.

Their indictment said that Israeli intelligence had monitored the men's Facebook postings since last June, after three Israeli settlers were kidnapped and killed in the occupied West Bank.

The intelligence said that their online comments had raised tensions across Jerusalem and encouraged acts of ‘terrorism.’

They cited in particular postings on the murder of 16-year-old Muhammad Abu Khdeir, who was kidnapped and killed by a group of Jewish extremists in July, as well as on a spate of Palestinian attacks on Israeli military and civilians that mostly took place in occupied East Jerusalem.

The indictment included details of the Facebook postings such the number of ‘likes,’ ‘shares’ and ‘comments’ by friends on Facebook.”

“Israelis on social media routinely and openly incite violence against Palestinians, especially during heightened periods of tensions such as this summer's military offensive on Gaza, but none have yet faced prosecution.”

May 10 2015

mr-absentia

April 30 2015

mr-absentia
mr-absentia
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Tags: Surveillance
Reposted frome-gruppe e-gruppe

April 28 2015

mr-absentia

The Police State is already here.

from mathbabe.org (via thereisnogod):

  • 28,000 residents are being surveilled
  • 300 “crews,” a designation that rises to “gangs” when there are arrests,
  • Officers trawl Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and other social media for incriminating posts
  • They pose as young women to gain access to “private” accounts
  • Parents are not notified
  • People never get off these surveillance lists
  • In practice, half of court cases actually use social media data to put people away
  • NYPD cameras are located all over Harlem as well

April 02 2015

mr-absentia
  • democracynow: The Intercept received a leaked document detailing the “suspicious signs” checklist used by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration to identify potential terrorists. Could you be a target next time you are waiting in line at airport security?

  • anarcho-queer: I thought this was a satire post by The Onion until I checked the source and realized this is real.

Reposted byin-god-we-trust in-god-we-trust
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