(NewsReady.com) – Modern technology enables the creation of a surveillance state that goes beyond George Orwell’s worst nightmares. China is already exploiting this to control its citizens — but the use of technology for social control is spreading. The United Arab Emirates is the latest country to decide George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four was an instruction manual, not a warning.
Advances in artificial intelligence, drones and facial recognition have created an increasingly global police surveillance business. In the Middle East, these advances and other emerging technologies have become part of everyday policing. https://t.co/1SqVUQ7DTZ
— The New York Times (@nytimes) March 30, 2023
Last month, Dubai, the capital and largest city of the United Arab Emirates, hosted a major international policing conference. The cops-only event showcased a range of technology the wealthy, but socially conservative, state is using to monitor what its residents get up to. We’re all familiar with phone taps and CCTV cameras, but modern police have a lot more sophisticated technology at their fingertips if they decide to go down that road.
China, which operates a frighteningly intrusive domestic surveillance network tied to its notorious “social credit” control system, is the world leader in Orwellian abuse of technology. The idea is spreading, though, and countries like the UAE are catching up fast.
Facial recognition cameras now give authoritarian governments the ability to track when people leave their homes and where they go. If they go somewhere that isn’t covered by cameras, cops can track the location of their phones. The UAE has also run mass phone hacking operations to collect information, including on political activists and foreign diplomats. Former US intelligence officers are helping them do it — which suggests our own government agencies are already familiar with this technology.
The UAE is a small, rich country that can easily monitor its handful of cities — but as the technology improves, and AI makes it easier to filter and organize the vast amounts of data that can be collected, any government willing to throw some money at it can build a surveillance state that tracks every move we make and reads every word we send. This isn’t the world Orwell imagined in his classic dystopian novel—this is much worse.
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