How China uses mass surveillance and big data to deal with social unrest

According to the US security firm Statfor the Chinese government has been builsing a system to analyse the massive amounts of data it has been collecting over the past years. The company claims: "The new grid management system aims to help the Chinese government act early to contain social unrest. Under the new program, grid administrators each monitor a number of households (sometimes as many as 200). They then aggregate their reports into one enormous surveillance database, where it is combined with data collected from video cameras and web censoring. Authorities can analyze that data to detect trends in hopes of anticipating protests or disturbances. For instance, if more than three protests occur in one town within a certain period, the new system could alert administrators, who could then send more police to that area or make other policy adjustments to maintain stability."

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What is Privacy International calling for?

Limit data analysis by design

As nearly every human interaction now generates some form of data, systems should be designed to limit the invasiveness of data analysis by all parties in the transaction and networking.

Control over intelligence

Individuals should have control over the data generated about their activities, conduct, devices, and interactions, and be able to determine who is gaining this intelligence and how it is to be used.

We may challenge consequential decisions

Individuals should be able to know about, understand, question and challenge consequential decisions that are made about them and their environment. This means that controllers too should have an insight into and control over this processing.