Folks who get their news from CNBC or The Wall Street Journal may have even heard about the Chinese government devaluing its currency.
But Daily Cut regulars know there’s a much more disturbing story playing out in China right now.
As we’ve been showing you, the Chinese government is creating the world’s first digital Surveillance Society.
In other words, a society in which it can digitally keep tabs on all its citizens 24/7.
So if you’re not lying awake at night worried about what’s going on over there… I (Chris) don’t blame you.
But here’s the thing… It keeps me up at night.
That’s because the Surveillance Society isn’t limited to China. Digital surveillance is also on the rise in the so-called Land of the Free.
And as you’ll learn today, its reach is growing.
But first, let’s zoom in on the latest out of the world’s most repressive Surveillance Society – China.
The flashpoint is the northwestern province of Xinjiang. This is where the Chinese feds have created the world’s largest “surveillance laboratory.”
As we’ve been showing you, it’s based around a dense network of “trackers.” These can be handheld face-scanners… or CCTV cameras armed with face-recognition software.
But now, Chinese border guards are also installing spyware on the phones of foreigners who enter the region.
That’s going by a recent investigation by several international publications. (Including The New York Times, Britain’s The Guardian newspaper, and German public broadcaster NDR.)
When you cross into Xinjiang (as about 100 million people do every year), a border guard will demand you hand over your phone. Then he’ll load a spyware app onto it.
This sucks up everything on your phone – from your private calendar entries, to your text messages, to your phone contacts, to your call logs. Then it sends it off to a Chinese government server for analysis.
If that surprises you, you haven’t been paying attention.
When you live in a Surveillance Society, it doesn’t matter if you’re guilty or innocent. Everyone is being watched all the time.
And that’s increasingly true in today’s America.
For instance, we’ve showed you how police in Orlando, Florida are tracking people across the city. They’re doing this with CCTV cameras armed with face recognition.
Then there are the face scanners that are replacing printed boarding passes at U.S. airports.
If you’re flying internationally out of the 17 top airports in the country, a machine at the boarding gate will now scan your mug… and match it to your ID using a federal database.
But did you know the FBI and ICE have also been scanning millions of Americans’ driver’s licenses? That’s going by public-record requests by Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy and Technology.
The two agencies have turned DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) databases into the bedrock of an unprecedented surveillance system.
For instance, since 2011, the FBI has logged more than 390,000 face-recognition searches of federal and local databases – including state DMV databases.
The feds’ goal is to create a face-recognition database similar to the one that enables China’s surveillance efforts.
And just like China’s border guards don’t ask your permission to download spyware onto your phone… the U.S. feds don’t ask your permission to scan your face.
They’ve been doing this without people’s consent… and without court approval.
Here’s how Jeff Brown, Legacy’s tech expert, put it to readers of our Bleeding Edge e-letter…
It is critical for society, in all countries, to resist this kind of abuse of technology. Ignoring individual rights and using forceful and pervasive surveillance measures will never end well in any country.
I’m a technologist – I believe technology has consistently proven to be the greatest tool we have to solve the world’s greatest challenges. But when used by bad actors, technology can be a powerful tool for oppression, abuse, and crime.
And it’s up to the good actors – and society as a whole – to aggressively police the use of technology to ensure that it is used responsibly.
It can be used to enable repression. Or it can be used to change our lives for the better.
For instance, CRISPR gene editing has the power to cure crippling genetic diseases such as sickle cell anemia, cystic fibrosis, and Huntington’s disease.
And advances in artificial intelligence (AI) will help us unlock some of the most pressing issues facing humanity, such as climate change. (Whether you believe it’s man-made or not, we’re seeing more and more extreme weather.)
We’re at the biggest inflection point in human history. The changes in the next decade will dwarf anything we’ve seen before. The impact on our lives will be bigger than anything we saw with the internet… the internal combustion engine… or even the printing press.
That’s why, next week, Jeff is hosting a free tech-investing summit.
It has to do with a strategy he’s been working on for the past five years. And it’s an entirely new way to invest in bleeding-edge tech.
In fact, Jeff reckons it could help you take a small initial stake and turn it into an extra $151,740 every year… for life.
July 16, 2019