The November 30, 2017, Wall Street Journal article “China’s Tech Giants Have a Second Job: Helping Beijing Spy on Its People” by Liza Lin and Josh Chin would have been truly chilling for me except for the conditioning that those of us who read and write sci fi stories have to total government surveillance.
On the other hand, is it time to panic when the science fiction becomes reality?
Here’s one significant paragraph from the article:
Companies including Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Baidu Inc. are required to help China’s government hunt down criminal suspects and silence political dissent. Their technology is also being used to create cities wired for surveillance.
The boldface is mine because, in my sci story THE MOTHER SIEGE that takes place in 2049, the totalitarian government can monitor all citizens. When the protagonist of the story decides to risk her life and those of her three children to prevent the government from getting control of the children, she does so with the knowledge that the government is all-seeing and all-hearing.
(You can read THE MOTHER SIEGE for for free on Wattpad at http://budurl.com/MSintro)
According to the Journal article:
On June 1, a new cybersecurity law went into effect that requires companies running internet platforms in China to help authorities ferret out content that “endangers national security, national honor and interests.”
That goes far beyond U.S. government demands on internet service providers or platforms, which are required by law to report suspected instances of child pornography when they discover it and take down material that has been found to infringe on copyrights.
And what does China want to do with all the information collected? The Journal article reports:
Along with access to online data, China’s government wants something else from tech companies—the cloud computing prowess to sort and analyze information. China wants to crunch data from surveillance cameras, smartphones, government databases and other sources to create so-called smart cities and safe cities.
While this heightened surveillance is happening right now in China, does it mean that this level of personal monitoring will come to the U.S.? Only time will tell.
© 2017 Miller Mosaic LLC
Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller) has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and is the author of fiction and nonfiction books/ebooks. Phyllis is available by skype for book group discussions and may be reached at email@example.com
Her Kindle fiction ebooks may be read for free with a Kindle Unlimited monthly subscription — see www.amazon.com/author/phylliszimblermiller — and her Kindle nonfiction ebooks may also be read for free with a Kindle Unlimited monthly subscription — see www.amazon.com/author/phylliszmiller