×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

China's All-Seeing Eye

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the market-stalinism dept.

Privacy 358

krou writes "Naomi Klein writes in Rolling Stone Magazine about China's Panopticon-like experiment called 'Golden Shield' taking place in Shenzhen using technology supplied by companies such as IBM, Honeywell, and General Electric. Klein writes: 'Chinese citizens will be watched around the clock through networked CCTV cameras and remote monitoring of computers. They will be listened to on their phone calls, monitored by digital voice-recognition technologies. Their Internet access will be aggressively limited through the country's notorious system of online controls known as the "Great Firewall." Their movements will be tracked through national ID cards with scannable computer chips and photos that are instantly uploaded to police databases and linked to their holder's personal data.' According to Klein, this is more than just a Chinese experiment, it's also one that holds ramifications for America and elsewhere: '...the most efficient delivery system for capitalism is actually a communist-style police state... The global corporations currently earning superprofits from this social experiment are unlikely to be content if the lucrative new market remains confined to cities such as Shenzhen. Like everything else assembled in China with American parts, Police State 2.0 is ready for export to a neighborhood near you.'"

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

358 comments

Bla bla bla (-1, Flamebait)

susano_otter (123650) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623223)

"Bla bla bla... capitalist this... panopticon that... bla bla bla."

Rolling Stone magazine? Give me a break.

Re:Bla bla bla (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23623257)

"Bla bla bla... capitalist this... panopticon that... bla bla bla." Rolling Stone magazine? Give me a break.
Excellent argument, so good that it does not and have to touch any of the issues raised by rolling stone magazine. (Even rolling stone magazine have published many good and informative article with regards to politics). Truely blah blah blah

Re:Bla bla bla (-1, Flamebait)

susano_otter (123650) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623313)

Why should I touch on any of the points raised by Rolling Stone? It's a glossy magazine. It prints sensational stories to get money from entertainment-hungry westerners. The real question is, why should I trust it?

Re:Bla bla bla (4, Insightful)

Davemania (580154) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623459)

I am a bit dumbfounded by your approach to reading article. You need trust to read something ? What happened to critical anaylsis. I think most "reasonable" people will read an article and analysis the content of the article rather than taking the content on blind faith. You've basically judged an article simply by the publisher without even considering any of the issues brought up from the article. It seems the question isn't whether you should trust it or not, its whether you can make an informed judgment, and it doesn't seem you can.

Re:Bla bla bla (4, Insightful)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623263)

Rolling Stone magazine? Give me a break.
Despite its counterculture reputation and its focus as a music/gossip magazine, Rolling Stone is consistently one of the better sources of news analysis available. This article is an excellent example of that, if you actually bother to read it (and it has already generated quite a bit of attention outside of slashdot, whether or not you agree with Klein's political leanings). An even finer example, IMHO, is Wallace-Wells' critique of the war on drugs [rollingstone.com].

Re:Bla bla bla (0, Troll)

susano_otter (123650) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623295)

Despite its counterculture reputation and its focus as a music/gossip magazine, Rolling Stone is consistently one of the better sources of news analysis available.

Sure it is. Unless you're both more reputable than Rolling Stone, and conducting your own independent research to validate RS's claims, your opinion is worthless. But hey, pray to your glossy magazines, if that's what lets you sleep at night.

I'm being entirely serious. (1)

Grym (725290) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623337)

Sure it is. Unless you're both more reputable than Rolling Stone, and conducting your own independent research to validate RS's claims, your opinion is worthless. But hey, pray to your glossy magazines, if that's what lets you sleep at night.

What news sources and/or publications would you suggest to stay informed?

-Grym

Re:I'm being entirely serious. (0, Flamebait)

susano_otter (123650) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623391)

What news sources and/or publications would you suggest to stay informed?

About China? Good fucking luck. But you might start by getting involved. Be your own news source, instead of settling for second-hand sensationalism.

Alternatively, just read your favorite glossy magazine, and admit to yourself and to the rest of us that you're only interested in entertainment and whatever opinions agree with your preexisting prejudices.

Re:I'm being entirely serious. (4, Insightful)

ushering05401 (1086795) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623439)

"Be your own news source, instead of settling for second-hand sensationalism."

So you are suggesting that once we succeed at being our own news source we keep that info to ourselves? If I chose Rolling Stone to disseminate the information I gathered firsthand it would immediately be devalued?

The RS article is old news, all of which I have seen reported elsewhere in recent weeks, but I fail to see how it is counterproductive to publicize the evolution of surveillance states.

On a side note, Rolling Stone being a glossy mag came about as a nod to the power of photojournalism in popular culture. There are anthologies published of RS photos and they hold significant historical and artistic value. As a disclaimer, I haven't been interested enough in pop culture to actually pick up an issue in years, but that doesn't mean the value isn't still there for others.

Re:I'm being entirely serious. (4, Funny)

theheadlessrabbit (1022587) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623483)

But you might start by getting involved. Be your own news source, instead of settling for second-hand sensationalism.
great idea!
how can we trust these lousy reporters, 'burn the lot of them' I say.

Lets have everyone, all 300 million of you Americans go and pack up all your bags, move to China, walk up to a chinese government official, and ask them "what's going on?"

thats a brilliant idea! you should go and get right on that.

or, for the sake of efficiency, we can have a small number of people go into an area and report on things for the rest of us!
yea!
We could even give those people special training!
Maybe they could even make a career out of going to these far away places on our behalf and reporting on events, situations and politics! what a brilliant idea!

Re:I'm being entirely serious. (1)

onefriedrice (1171917) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623657)

Maybe they could even make a career out of going to these far away places on our behalf and reporting on events, situations and politics! what a brilliant idea!
I think you're onto something....

Re:Bla bla bla (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23623339)

haha good one there.

Also this is OLD FUCKING NEWS!

not to mention extremely boring and not really worthy of /.

Re:Bla bla bla (2, Informative)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623351)

It has been a while since I've read Rolling Stone, but hey, it gave us the likes of Hunter Thompson and P.J. O'Rourke. All that is shiny is not shallow.

Re:Bla bla bla (1, Troll)

susano_otter (123650) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623403)

Thompson was a sensationalist. O'Rourke is an opinion writer. If you like crazy narratives, the former is excellent. If you agree with a certain kind of worldview, the latter is likewise excellent. But don't confuse either for the facts on the ground. And don't confuse either with Naomi Klein.

Re:Bla bla bla (3, Insightful)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623555)

When you reduce Thompson to "a sensationalist" I suddenly take you far less seriously. Yes, he had outrageous style but he was a trenchant observer.

Re:Bla bla bla (1)

WindowlessView (703773) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623591)

and it has already generated quite a bit of attention outside of slashdot

I read the article earlier in the week and it is indeed thought provoking. It's a shame it was posted on Slashdot at this hour on a weekend. At the time I post this at least 50 other people have posted and if a single person actually read the article they have chosen to hide that fact. It's a damn shame because there is much in it that would interest people here if they took the time.

And before someone asks - no, I am not new here.

Re:Bla bla bla (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23623361)

Well at least the Chinese government will be accurate when they claim that the bourgeois and corporations are oppressing the people. The Chinese implementation of communism is certainly novel.

Re:Bla bla bla (4, Interesting)

niktemadur (793971) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623487)

I agree that Rolling Stone is mostly padded with disposable fluff. But they always take their journalism seriously, so it's a great, subversive starting point for a good chunk of young people: buy the issue for their article on Panic At The Disco, then when you're bored, end up reading the article on how the Bush government has deregulated industrial pollution. And suddenly, shazam! A spark has gone off in your mind and your curiosity is piqued, and you've begun your life's journey as a conscious citizen.

You know what the Greek term is for the citizen who does not participate in public affairs? Idiotis. Rolling Stone has planted the seed to obliterate the idiotis for a huge amount of people.

Re:Bla bla bla ??? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23623653)

Do you not mind invasions of privacy becuase you are a Chink, or are you a Chink because you don't mind invasions of privacy?

Re:Bla bla bla (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23623739)

Bla bla blah.

susano_otter? Give me a break.

heh, well ibm helped nazis too, so why not (5, Interesting)

coolsnowmen (695297) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623247)

"using technology supplied by companies such as IBM, Honeywell, and General Electric."

IBM making money at the expense of morality; nothing new here.

http://www.ibmandtheholocaust.com/articles/auschwitz.html [ibmandtheholocaust.com]

Re:heh, well ibm helped nazis too, so why not (2, Interesting)

upside (574799) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623711)

On this vein, there is nothing communist about China anymore, it's a National Socialist system. Just like with the NSDAP (Nazi party), the "socialism" is there only in name.

1984 Quote (4, Insightful)

EEPROMS (889169) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623279)

"And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed--if all records told the same tale--then the lie passed into history and became truth. 'Who controls the past' ran the Party slogan, 'controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.'"

1982 Quote (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23623425)

Up here in space / I'm looking down on you,
My lasers trace / everything you do,
You think you've private lives / think nothing of the kind,
There is no true escape / I'm watching all the time!

CHORUS:
I'm made of metal, my circuits gleam
I am perpetual, I keep the country clean.
I'm elected, electric spy,
I'm protected, electric eye.

Always in focus / you can't feel my stare,
I zoom into you / you dont know I'm there.
I take a pride in probing / all your secret moves,
My tearless retina takes / pictures that can prove...

(Chorus)

Electric eye (in the sky)
Feel my stare (always there)
There's nothing you can do about it, develop and expose,
I feed upon your every thought, and so my power grows!

(Chorus)

I'm Elected -
Protected -
Detective -
Electric -
Eye.

- Judas Priest, Electric Eye, 1982.

Orwell's 1984 isn't the only functional specification out there, after all.

Germany was the proof-of-concept. Stalin's Russia and the Cold War Warsaw Pact countries were the alpha, which failed due to scaling concerns. China is the beta test site and release-candidate. Unistat goes live in 2009.

Redundant? Modtard! (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623773)

I just finished rereading this book. Interesting that it's not entered the public domain yet in the US, even though it was written sixty years ago.

Your post deserved better than this moderation. The all-seeing eye of Big Brother is a tyranny to be avoided. Next time cite the author though, ok?

George Orwell, anyone? (4, Interesting)

niktemadur (793971) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623283)

Fortunately, somebody had the vision to warn us about this sort of thing, sixty years ago. I'm willing to bet that in China, a land where the government censors almost everything in sight, Orwell is banned.

BTW, has 1984 ever been translated into Mandarin? If so, whoever did it, that person should have a statue erected in every Chinatown in the western world, just like Dr Sun Yat-Sen eventually in Shanghai and Beijing.

Re:George Orwell, anyone? (1)

joshuaes (1035088) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623695)

"I'm willing to bet that in China, a land where the government censors almost everything in sight, Orwell is banned."

I mentioned 1984 to a friend that lives in China and she has never heard of that book, or Orwell. So, yes, it is banned.

Re:George Orwell, anyone? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23623743)

I mentioned 1984 to a friend that lives in China and she has never heard of that book, or Orwell. So, yes, it is banned.

Wow, somebody give this guy a Nobel Prize for his exhaustive research and well-reasoned conclusion.

Re:George Orwell, anyone? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23623859)

okay, i am from china.

i think many slashdotters have an incomplete information about the current status of internet freedom in china. i saw many threads on great firewall in slashdot. but hardly any discussion on the free speech on china's internet. presumably, i think, nobody reads chinese internet forum.

if you look at some largest internet forums: tianyaclub.com, netease.com, sina.com. you will be very surprised to find out the freedom of speech.
taking tianyaclub.com for example, it has 270,000 online readers (statistical data @ moment of writing this comment). old bbs-style threads are full of criticisms to the government. the official propaganda TV/newspapers are frequently derided. china's internet is not entirely as free as in the states. but freedom of speech is not entirely suppressed either. as long as the language doesn't
cross the line, i.e., overthrowing the government, nobody cares. polices are busy at keeping the social unrest at poor rural areas under control.

i had read rolling stone's article. frankly, i am quite surprised by the reaction. there are little discussion on the internet here. it is not that it is a tabooed topic. pretty much every thing could be openly debated on internet here. (of course, not including getting ride of ruling party). as far as i can tell, people are more concerned about corruption, rising house price, inflation.

btw, George Orwell's books are available here in english book store. 1984, animal farm,etc...

Is it April 1, 2009? (1)

darkmeridian (119044) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623285)

I am amazed. This has to be a joke, right? China is currently a largely agricultural society where a majority of citizens still live in the mountains. The money spent on bugging the population could be better spent on feeding the poor. I am surprised at how short-sighted the Communists are, and I already hold them in pretty low esteem.

Re:Is it April 1, 2009? (4, Insightful)

NoobixCube (1133473) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623371)

It's nothing to do with them being Communists. Actually, if they were to do something with Communist motivation, it would be feeding the poor. This is more about stamping out sedition. Something any government could do, completely separate from their political style.

You are confused (2, Interesting)

symbolset (646467) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623791)

You are confusing communism in theory with communism in practice. It's a common error and your reeducation team will be around presently to correct the error.

Re:You are confused (2, Informative)

Kharny (239931) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623845)

And you are confusing maoism with communism.

There is no such thing as practical communism, it's a theoretical model with no real-life application due to human nature. The chinese state is a semi-feudal society.

Re:You are confused (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623989)

And you are confusing maoism with communism.

There is no such thing as practical communism, it's a theoretical model with no real-life application due to human nature. The chinese state is a semi-feudal society

And... an economic theory with no practical applications is ... what?

I'm grasping for a definition that is not [null]. Throw me a bone here.

Re:Is it April 1, 2009? (1)

Xonstantine (947614) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623899)

Yeah, because the communists were all about feeding the poor. Funny though, how countries like the USSR, China, and Cambodia had famines shortly after going Communist. Those damn kulaks, just sabotaging the people's revolution.

Re:Is it April 1, 2009? (2, Interesting)

graft (556969) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623381)

Why don't you RTFA? There you will find discussion of, for example, China's 130 million-strong population of migrants and how they are the underclass forming the backbone of cities like Shenzen.

Re:Is it April 1, 2009? (1)

sir fer (1232128) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623389)

No joke, just old news. China's majority is also extremely poor and the party would have everyone believe that a better life is to be found in the city, where they can keep an eye on you.

The communists are not as short sighted as you are, politicians sometimes appear to be stupid or incompetent when the outcome they get is what they really wanted. Just look at the "war" in Iraq and the "war on terrorism/drugs/illiteracy" etc

Re:Is it April 1, 2009? (4, Interesting)

niktemadur (793971) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623409)

These are Communists in name only, on two fronts:

- Stalinism wasn't Communist, it was Stalinism. In that regard, whatever China's government practices, it's not Communism.
- Communism on paper was never about putting antifreeze in toothpaste or lead in child toy's paint. That's the exact opposite, Xtreme Capitalism.

It's heartbreaking how the least enlightened people end up running so many countries, and that goes for China present and past, too.

Ever heard about The Great Sparrow Campaign? In the late fifties, the Mao government decided that sparrows, who ate seeds, were a public menace and implemented a nationwide campaign to kill the sparrows. They succeded, by having the population bang pots and pans in the streets, keeping the sparrows in the air until they dropped dead from exhaustion.

As a result, locusts flourished, with their natural predator virtually gone, devastating the countryside, generating a famine that killed, by most estimates, between 35 and 40 million Chinese. All of it covered up, of course, there is not a single photograph that documents this massive catastrophe, even in the second half of the XX Century.

Another fine example of unthinkably ignorant and incompetent government at work, in full effect, and never mind the symbolic Communist tag.

Re:Is it April 1, 2009? (1)

niktemadur (793971) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623417)

I just remembered what the proper term is: Totalitarianism. Whether Capitalist, Communist or whatever, it's always bad news for everyone.

Re:Is it April 1, 2009? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23623489)

China's various rulers have practiced quite extreme forms of population control for thousands of years. In a sense, this is just the continuation of old customs and traditions.

Re:Is it April 1, 2009? (1)

niktemadur (793971) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623523)

Absolutely right, and extreme old habits die extremely hard. The old Chinese curse is "May your children live in interesting times", which translates to "May your children live when the government is actively engaged".

Re:Is it April 1, 2009? (1)

the brown guy (1235418) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623693)

I am surprised at how short-sighted the Communists are, and I already hold them in pretty low esteem.

Don't paint all communists with one brush, the Chinese are hardly communists, more fascists (see the post "China is not commie" in this discussion.)
Its not because they are communists, it's because they are nuts. Plain and simple. When the government wants to track all communication between citizens and access to the internet etc rather than feeding the hungry, and seismically upgrading schools, then something is fucked up.

Feeding the poor (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623985)

"I am amazed. This has to be a joke, right? China is currently a largely agricultural society where a majority of citizens still live in the mountains. The money spent on bugging the population could be better spent on feeding the poor. I am surprised at how short-sighted the Communists are, and I already hold them in pretty low esteem."

China has dragged more people out of poverty in the last 30yrs than the rest of the planet combined and it has done so on a fraction of the resources available to the west.

Sure, Mao's 'cultural revolution' was a state managed famine that killed millions at the stroke of an ideological pen, however the 'gang of four' and their genocidal ideology were kicked out of power a long time ago.

Let the battle begin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23623291)

Flash crowds, encrypted communications and decentralised communications vs. the (almost) all seeing police state. We will see this battle everywhere, not just in China. First casualties will be the geeks of the world, the ones who have the ability to put the people in control of their own communications.

Re:Let the battle begin (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623601)

Dude, this is China. In a democracy you use flash crowds and encryption to disrupt things like this. In China they'd break up flash crowds with paramilitary police and trace encrypted connections inside the routers and send gangs of thugs to disappear the person that set them up at 5am.

Goodness, what trash (0, Flamebait)

Quadraginta (902985) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623303)

Must be a really slow news day, as this falls below even /. editors' usual low, low bar for Eek The Sky Is Falling Big Brother Is Watching FUD.

That a Communist regime spies extensively on its own citizens is news? Hello? Did you miss the entire 20th century or what? Some reports only half-jokingly suggest that roughly a fourth of East Germans were employed in some fashion or other on spying on their friends and neighbors through the Stasi. That's what happens when most of society is directed from the top -- "the top" needs extensive information about you to make decisions. More central control always requires less privacy, duh.

Then there's the tired old 20th century Marxist crap at the end about how this is all not, as you might naively think, the result of the morally corrupt and inhuman foundations of the Chinese Communist state, a direct and obvious form of Maoism, but instead...bwa ha ha...a fiendishly clever plot by IBM and friends to develop a new market for hardware. Wow, there's an original thought. Just a weird coincidence that it looks so much like classical 1920s Marxist assertions that the First World War was the result of heavy industries (Ford, Krupps) needing to develop a new market for steel products.

Gosh, if we're to be subjected to paranoid loony ravings, I wish they were at least original ravings, and not the warmed over groupthink of 1950s pseudo-Soviet apparatchiks with zero grasp of history. Feh.

Re:Goodness, what trash (4, Insightful)

squidinkcalligraphy (558677) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623421)

With due respect, this article isn't about a totalitarian state that watches it's citizens; it's about the fact that US companies are the one's who are making it possible.

Re:Goodness, what trash (1)

canecubo (1300223) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623521)

Boy, a lot of rhetoric flying around here ("loony", "paranoid"), but let's take a look at these comments in detail.

1) The story is not about the fact that a communist state is spying on its citizens; that's not the news. It's about the use of new technologies that provide the regime with a huge amount of integrated information, using technologies that are also being deployed in the West.

2) The claim isn't that the adoption of new surveillance techniques is caused by IBM et al. They are the enablers. The connection to capitalism is actually at another level: that modern China represents a form of authoritarian capitalism whose efficiency is quite remarkable. This point unhinges the tired old 20th century right-wing crap that tried hard to present capitalism and democracy as necessarily intertwined. In fact, as we know from Napoleon III's regime, there are historical counter-examples to this notion, and modern China is a shocking refutation.

I wouldn't be so sure you understand history much -- remember, all that TV watching is bad for you.

Re:Goodness, what trash (5, Insightful)

demachina (71715) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623729)

"that modern China represents a form of authoritarian capitalism whose efficiency is quite remarkable"

I think its open to debate if China is remarkable for its "efficiency". It mostly just has lots of cheap labor, no labor unions and very weak pollution and safety regulation which means its a cheap place to do things like manufacturing. There are quite a few things working against its economic efficiency.

A. The party officials that run the place are extremely corrupt. Corruption is good for business only if it swings your way. If it swings against you, or for your competition it is quite bad for business, and the unpredictability of corruption is especially bad for business.

B. The legal frameworks in the country are extremely poor. This is a plus if you ware a bootlegger ripping off your competition's product, its not so good if your IP and products are the ones being ripped off.

C. Not sure exactly why but China did apparently pass new labor laws around the first of the year and they undid some of the slave labor aspects of being a worker in China. Workers did actually get some rights under the new laws and it appears they are going to cause a significant spike in the cost of labor, along with the simple fact labor isn't as abundant in China as it once was. This along with a number of other factors is causing wage inflation and making China less and less attractive to Capitalism. The factors that made China boom can also work against it and lead to a bust and for the boom to move elsewhere.

D. China's one child policy is starting to cause a severe shortage of young workers since it began in 1979. Their population is going to start become senior citizen heavy like Japan and the U.S. which has a lot of negative economic consequences. Most older workers can't stand the dormitories and 6-7 day work weeks in China's factories so as the young labor pool drops its going to hammer their sweat shop manufacturing industries.

E. Censorship might have its positives in that it helps eliminate dissent but it also means you can do some incredibly stupid stuff and get away with it because you can suppress knowledge of your stupidity. A free press and a free Internet can server a useful purpose in that it can eventually expose corruption, incompetence and stupidity and led to corrective action if the press and freedom of speech works. For example in the U.S. the free press went dysfunctional after 9/11 and untold stupidity was perpetrated by the Bush administration like the war in Iraq, torture and domestic spying. The press still isn't very healthy but America has started to throw the Republican's out of power for their incompetence, though the Democrats are much of an improvement. In China is if the ruling party turns bad, there are no alternatives except for changing one set of Communist party leaders for another in an internal power struggle.

F. The spiking cost of oil is suddenly starting to work against globalization. Not sure how accurate it is but someone on CNBC said the cost to ship a container from China to the U.S. has quadrupled recently from $2K to $8K and if oil prices continue to spike its going to be less and less attractive to ship goods half way around the world. Its already working against heavy goods with a low labor component like steel. The more expensive fuel gets the less likely you are going to offshore manufacturing for the U.S. and Europe to China. Mexico may become increasingly attractive again for the U.S. labor pool.

Re:Goodness, what trash (2, Insightful)

demachina (71715) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623855)

I'd have to agree the submission is a little breathless, but it is interesting to and important to think about the consequences of a pervasive police state in the digital age. East Germany's police state was extremely labor intensive. You pretty much had to have people to eavesdrop on phone calls, lots and lots of magnetic tape, and lots and lots of people spying on their neighbors.

In the digital age its increasingly possible to actually listen to everything and let computers sort out the keywords and red flag people for closer scrutiny. As everything has moved in to a databases it is much easier to correlate data from multiple databases and look at, for example, all your bank records, your taxes filings, what you buy, your travel plans, the books and movies you read and watch, and get an extremely good picture of any individuals thoughts. Eliot Spitzer is a recent case study of someone who was destroyed by the increasingly pervasive spying on banking activities.

The down side of the Internet is it has created a mechanism to allow the police state to digitally monitor what people are saying, thinking, doing and wanting to do, far more than ever before.

Not sure I would get so excited about China doing this, they are after all a totalitarian state and being doing these things quite blatantly for 60 plus years, they are just going to be a lot better at it in the digital age, and its fairly new that Western companies get to help in their oppression.

I think we should be somewhat more concerned about the fact the governments of U.S. and Great Britain are doing many of these same things, just somewhat more subtly and almost no one seems to notice or care. They are countries that are supposed to have things like civil liberties, like freedom of speech and habeas corpus, but the free societies we so fond of bragging about are being dismantled before our eyes using Islamic terrorism as the excuse. You could blame it all Bush and Blair but I'm pretty sure the espionage state will continue to expand unabated, no matter which party is in power, because:

A. The fear of a new terrorist attach can be used to justify every excess.

B. People in power almost inevitably want more power and more control of their domain, not less. Its a somewhat rare individual who achieves great power and then doesn't use it, abuse it and expand it. It rare indeed to find people that actually relinquish power they already have. Almost the only time it happens is when gross excesses of someone abusing their power lead to scandal, for example Watergate, Vietnam and the abuses of the CIA in the 1960's. Executive power was reigned in, in the 1970's by things like the Church Committee though the Republicans hated everything that happened in the 70's to reign in abuse of power and managed to undo all the check and balances in the last 7 years and push America even further in to a police state than was the case under Nixon and Hoover.

How are we any different? (2, Insightful)

sweet_petunias_full_ (1091547) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623305)

This is how this Golden Shield will work: Chinese citizens will be watched around the clock through networked CCTV cameras and remote monitoring of computers. They will be listened to on their phone calls, monitored by digital voice-recognition technologies. Their Internet access will be aggressively limited through the country's notorious system of online controls known as the "Great Firewall." Their movements will be tracked through national ID cards with scannable computer chips and photos that are instantly uploaded to police databases and linked to their holder's personal data. This is the most important element of all: linking all these tools together in a massive, searchable database of names, photos, residency information, work history and biometric data. When Golden Shield is finished, there will be a photo in those databases for every person in China: 1.3 billion faces.


Correct me if I'm wrong, but I see nothing in the above that we're not already doing here or have announced that we will be doing soon. And the amazing thing is this really big giant coincidence that it's also happening everywhere else. What gives? It's like a world government has been instituted or something.

Re:How are we any different? (1)

elnico (1290430) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623503)

I see nothing in the above that we're not already doing here or have announced that we will be doing soon.
You clearly didn't look very hard.

Correct me if I'm wrong
Alright then...

They will be listened to on their phone calls, monitored by digital voice-recognition technologies.
Sorry bud, we don't do that. There are a few wiretaps flying around, some illegal; but they comprise an absolutely tiny percentage of calls made, generally those made by Very Bad Men. We very definitely don't do this for all citizens. Want proof? Try calling yourself and talking about how you're going to overthrow the government and assassinate some officials. You'll be presently surprised as to how no one else will ever know about that phone call.

Their Internet access will be aggressively limited through the country's notorious system of online controls known as the "Great Firewall."
Yeah, we don't do this, nor will we ever.

Their movements will be tracked through national ID cards with scannable computer chips and photos that are instantly uploaded to police databases and linked to their holder's personal data.
National ID cards certainly come up every once in a while, but they get shot down consistently.

7 years ago, we didn't even have a centralized database for ENEMIES OF THE STATE. What makes you think we have one now for all citizens?

Re:How are we any different? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23623759)

> What makes you think we have one now for all citizens?

Because all citizens have been classified as potential enemies of the state and the principle of innocent until proven guilty is gasping for air.

Re:How are we any different? (1)

sweet_petunias_full_ (1091547) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623795)

They will be listened to on their phone calls, monitored by digital voice-recognition technologies.

Sorry bud, we don't do that. There are a few wiretaps flying around, some illegal; but they comprise an absolutely tiny percentage of calls made, generally those made by Very Bad Men.

What are the NSA secret rooms at phone companies for then? Coffee breaks? Why do the phone companies want immunity if they're not being asked to do blatantly illegal things?

Their Internet access will be aggressively limited through the country's notorious system of online controls known as the "Great Firewall."

Yeah, we don't do this, nor will we ever.

Their system is the most notorious for the moment, but don't assume that all of your search queries aren't being watched and recorded, and don't assume the search results are always going to show everything found. Failing that, there are also more extreme measures to watch you [slashdot.org].

National ID cards certainly come up every once in a while, but they get shot down consistently.

Some states have already implemented fingerprint cards, after trying to place tracking devices in cars unsuccessfully. Note that we have satellites to track people now, making such cards less important. UK has ubiquitous street cams + databases, we have redlight cameras + satellites, China has black dome cameras on streetlights. I don't see the satellites getting shot down any time soon.

7 years ago, we didn't even have a centralized database for ENEMIES OF THE STATE. What makes you think we have one now for all citizens?

Try reading about about the plans for this [slashdot.org] unprecedented biometric database.

So, once again, how are we any different except in terms of the degree of policestaticity? (Or is that policestatishness? Perhaps policestatoriality? ...Ugh.)

Oh fuck. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23623317)

Police state 2.0!

If it were 1.4 or 1.5 we might have had a chance. But 2.0, theres no hope.

VOTE OBAMA (-1, Troll)

kir (583) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623321)

If you agree with this sort of thing, you should vote Obama. Get your brown shirts out! You'll need them.

Re:VOTE OBAMA (1)

niktemadur (793971) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623559)

I have absolutely no idea what you're trying to say. It's nonsensical, if anything you're describing the Bush administration, and your post should read If you agree with this sort of thing, you should vote Bush. Get your brown shirts out! You'll need them.

But then again, political effervescence brings out the irrational in people, even some true Slashdot veterans, and within minutes your post was modded Troll.

Re:VOTE OBAMA (1)

kir (583) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623685)

It's OK. Just take your soma and have a nice holiday. Everything will be alright.

BTW - I will be modded troll as I do not agree with the enlightened /. masses. Uni was quite a while ago for me. I've lived a bit and have experienced our world for what it really is.

All hail our supposititious messiah... or else!

Big Brother (0, Redundant)

jonfr (888673) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623343)

Welcome to big brother state, one wrong move and your history, literally.

1984 is just a minor joke compared to what China is going to do in the future.

I guess we are going to see new breed of crackers and hackers soon.

It is also going to get really messy when this falls in on it self.

Re:Big Brother (1)

Urkki (668283) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623981)

Welcome to big brother state, one wrong move and your history, literally.
No, literally you will be the exact opposite of "being history", you will be "erased", no historical record of your existence will remain...

Klein's a Leftist with an agenda, not a journalist (0, Flamebait)

DavidinAla (639952) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623365)

It's very important to point out that Naomi Klein is a Leftist who hates capitalism. This story isn't from a journalist who's trying to be fair. It's from a dedicated ideologue who is promoting her new book, "The Shock Doctrine." In the summary of this story, you can tell that something is amiss when you read, "...the most efficient delivery system for capitalism is actually a communist-style police state." That has nothing to do with what's gone before it, so its lack of sense in context makes it jump out, because it's not supported by (or related to) anything else in the summary so far. Then you realize who the author of the piece is and you realize this isn't a technology story. It's a Leftist political piece dressed up for Slashdot. Klein is trying to take something that we all will hate (the spying and lack of freedom in communist China) and forcing it into being linked to capitalism. To see the illogic of this, all one has to do is see that the countries that are the freest also tend to be the most capitalistic. The ones that are the most politically repressive also tend to be the most anti-capitalist. The Chinese experiment in limited economic freedom stands out because it's an anomaly, not because it's typical. In fact, what the Chinese fear more than anything else is probably what will eventually happen -- people who become accustomed to making money and controlling their financial decisions eventually start wanting political freedom. There is a limited IT story here, because western companies are selling technology that's being used for bad purposes by the Chinese government. But it ultimately makes as much sense as lambasting Ford because the bank robber drove a Mustang as his getaway car. Just understand that Klein has an agenda here, and being evenhanded toward the free market certainly isn't on that agenda.

Re:Klein's a Leftist with an agenda, not a journal (0, Redundant)

neuromancer23 (1122449) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623447)

>> "the most efficient delivery system for capitalism is actually a communist-style police state"

Someone is in serious need of medication. Communism is the polar opposite of capitalism.

Re:Klein's a Leftist with an agenda, not a journal (2, Insightful)

Beetle B. (516615) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623563)

To see the illogic of this, all one has to do is see that the countries that are the freest also tend to be the most capitalistic.
Interesting assertion, but somewhat meaningless until you can quantify freedom.

Re:Klein's a Leftist with an agenda, not a journal (1)

DavidinAla (639952) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623633)

I think you mean "define" instead of "quantify," because surely you're not looking to put a number on it. And it's not especially hard to do. To be free is to be able to make your own decision insofar as you're not infringing on others' rights or property. The difficult part for some people (especially those on the Left) is that so many of them don't believe that people truly have the right to make their own decisions and they don't believe that private ownership of property is moral. Of course, those on the repressive Right don't believe in freedom, either, but they want control in different areas. Typically, a Leftist is willing to give you social freedom, but wants control of your economic life, while a Rightist is willing to give you economic freedom, but wants to control your social life. Someone who really believes in individual freedom doesn't want to control either your social or your economic life.

Re:Klein's a Leftist with an agenda, not a journal (4, Informative)

canecubo (1300223) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623649)

"To see the illogic of this, all one has to do is see that the countries that are the freest also tend to be the most capitalistic. The ones that are the most politically repressive also tend to be the most anti-capitalist."

Sadly, you're so blinded by your ideology you don't even see the lack of factual accuracy in this statement. There is a long tradition of authoritarian capitalism, here are just a few, for your reflection:

  • Tsarist Russia
  • The Second Empire (Napoleon III)
  • Prussia, later Germany
  • Nazi Germany
  • The authoritarian/fascist states of central and eastern Europe between the wars and during WWII
  • Spain under Franco
  • Greece under the Colonels
  • Iran under the Shah -- a violent and repressive regime if ever there was one
  • Chile under Pinochet
  • Brazil under authoritarian military rule
  • for that matter, all other Latin American dictatorships: Mexico, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Peru, etc. etc.
  • Indonesia under Suharto
  • South Africa under Apartheid
  • The Philippines under Marcos
  • South Korea under Military Rule
So as you see, the correlation between capitalism and true democracy is actually quite weak. I don't think the facts can be accused of being "illogical".

Re:Klein's a Leftist with an agenda, not a journal (1)

DavidinAla (639952) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623681)

You're talking about governments which exercised huge control the economy (in addition to repressing their people in other ways). If you want to call that capitalism, that's fine. But it's not what a free market really is. Even to take your definition, you could have a far more statistically significant correlation between capitalism and freedom than between capitalism and authoritarianism. For you to call Nazi Germany a capitalist country (when the economy was quite controlled in a top-down fashion) shows who is truly "blinded by your ideology."

Re:Klein's a Leftist with an agenda, not a journal (1)

marxmarv (30295) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623725)

Klein is trying to take something that we all will hate (the spying and lack of freedom in communist China) and forcing it into being linked to capitalism.
Would they have built their network as fast if

To see the illogic of this, all one has to do is see that the countries that are the freest also tend to be the most capitalistic.
Does this account for political repression performed by proxy? Is a country still considered "free" if its barons do the oppressing with the blessing of the state? e.g. substance use screening (US funding being the most reliable determinant of the conclusions of scientific work in this area), background checks combined with gag clauses being common conditions of employment (employers can spy on and gossip about me with indemnity and impunity but industrial espionage is a crime and posting true accounts about employers puts one at risk of punitive damages), churches promoting discriminatory morality laws with tax-free money, the general selling-off and destruction of the public trust,...

Doesn't look so free anymore in the US, does it?

But maybe your analysis is right -- the US is home to massive corporate subsidies for Big Ag, Big Oil, Big Pharma, the Big Three automakers, the Big Five record companies, just about any big business. I guess the Big People don't need strong character when they can pay the little people to build and maintain character for them, or something.

But it ultimately makes as much sense as lambasting Ford because the bank robber drove a Mustang as his getaway car.
Cars aren't purpose-built to rob banks, duh. High-speed facial recognition systems and content filters are purpose-built to quickly recognize individuals and hide content. There are very few legitimate businesses that have a legitimate need for such systems, casinos and child-friendly ISPs being the only ones that come to mind.

Just understand that Klein has an agenda here, and being evenhanded toward the free market certainly isn't on that agenda.
The free market doesn't work without transparency. Recent laws in the US have enabled and in some cases mandated opacity for business. Waving a copy of Reason around isn't going to make that go away.

oops, damn mouse button, what I meant to say was: (1)

marxmarv (30295) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623731)

Would they have built out their surveillance network as fast if they had to build it themselves? Reference Godwin's Law and IBM.

Re:Klein's a Leftist with an agenda, not a journal (1)

DavidinAla (639952) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623903)

Your assumptions are so ill-founded that it makes the rest of your rant worthless. I don't defend the United States as free, as you seem to think. We've been slowing losing our economic freedom since at least the late 19th century. (The only positive things insofar as freedom in this country is that we've gained a bit in some areas of social freedom.) Most companies are so "in bed" with big government today that we have Facism Lite, not capitalism. You can't declare support of the current U.S. economic system to be my position and then try to make me defend it. In addition to making unsupported assumptions about my point of view, you don't seem to understand that free people can do evil things, but that doesn't make the system under which they exist evil. Do some free people help evil people do evil? Sure, but that has nothing to do with making real freedom evil.

US + China connected? (1)

Junkyboy55 (1183037) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623443)

With the US government stealing their citizens' privacy, I think the eye on the dollar bill is more than just some print now. I wonder if China will add the eye to their bills too?

Big Brother is watching!

Re:US + China connected? (3, Funny)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623545)

And that's why I draw an eye patch on every dollar I get. Plus I give the pyramid an old timey mustache. Cause it looks cool.

What a coincidence! (0, Flamebait)

greg_barton (5551) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623461)

Urban warfare and population suppression 2.0 is ready for export from Iraq. Just in time!

China is not commie (4, Insightful)

gregbot9000 (1293772) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623479)

And it's not Capitalist, it's a wonderful halfway point called fascist.

From TFA: "Remember how we've always been told that free markets and free people go hand in hand? That was a lie. It turns out that the most efficient delivery system for capitalism is actually a communist-style police state"

Free markets require the freedom to chose without coercion in order to be efficient for everyone involved. China does not have a free market. The transactions are not efficient for the low man on the totem pole, namely the worker. China is fascist, and the country is a giant form of monopoly that has huge profit margins by manipulating the labor supply and the rights afforded to individuals to drive down costs. Just because China is having huge profits does not mean they are more efficient.

A lot of people will go on about the horrible violation to civil liberties all of these things China does are, but no one ever talks about the horrible damage these things do to the economic well being of the country.
China IS going to undergo serious reform or revolution. It won't be possible to maintain any level of efficiency without the proper rule of law or a Meritocracy. China WILL become more efficient once more people start demanding a larger share, and the only way they can do this is through greater representation and markets, markets that need informed consumers who are not being forced to act against their best interests.
All successful revolutions have come from the middle to upper class capitalists who are feed up with kings and lords ruling by mandate cutting into their bottom line. China is no different.
From TFA "With political unrest on the rise across China, the government hopes to use the surveillance shield to identify and counteract dissent before it explodes into a mass movement"
If someone is dissenting that means there is something that needs to be changed. That is the best example of why china, like the USSR, will hit a standard of living wall. Efficiency requires freedom.

Naomi's right... (0, Flamebait)

ivi (126837) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623513)

With China (& Japan) loaning so much $$ to the US, eg, to fund the Iraq war, etc. (Go check it out!) ...it won't be -too- long before China (&/or Japan) will -own- the US.

If China gets the Country, then it's Great Firewall will "protect" US citizens & residents from all those troublesome ideas, that they worry will infect their own people, today.

Better learn Chinese, folks! :-/

Re:Naomi's right... (1)

the brown guy (1235418) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623675)

Better learn Chinese, folks

Yeah, I already know Indian, Mexican and Netherlandian, :P
From what I understand, Chinese refers to the written text, either simplified or traditional chinese. There are many different spoken languages that use written chinese characters, like Mandarin, Cantonese, Hokkien, and other dialects that are so different that a Cantonese speaking person from Taiwan will not be understood (fully) by a Cantonese speaking person from Schezuan province etc.

That's like people asking me if I speak Hindu...fucking insulting that they are so stupid.

Re:Naomi's right... (1)

marxmarv (30295) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623797)

If Americans learned Chinese, or frankly any foreign language, Americans could have prevented better than half the trouble they're in now.

The science of getting people to buy useless crap was born, raised, and battle-hardened in the US. China's fat wad of dollars (and Euros and rupees and dinars) is due to consumerism. Why would they want our culture to change as long as dollars still buy liquid energy?

Oceans Cannot Protect Us (0)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623567)

After the planebombs of 9/11/2001, Bush made a big deal about how suddenly, "oceans cannot protect us anymore". As if oceans had made us immune to ICBMs in the 50 year Cold War, or to air and sea raids in either WWII or any of the other wars (like 1812, or the Revolution) we'd survived without throwing away liberty. It was true, but it wasn't new.

We're going to find out a lot more about blowback when the government Bush installed these past 7.5 years, built mostly on his Republican Congress (and not reformed by the Democratic Congress of the past year and a half), is the foundation for all these invasive technologies we're "beta testing" in China.

If the 2009 Democratic Congress and White House doesn't spend most of its time ripping out Bush's Unitary Executive by the roots, a bigger reform than Bush's 8 years of catastrophes, this country is going to make China look like a cheap, ignorant backwater. By making this country into cheap, ignorant backwater central.

Ah the joys of watching the ants roam around (1)

Ron Bennett (14590) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623607)

More and more our society is becoming little more than a glorified ant farm for the government's voyeurist enjoyment - manipulating and watching us little ants roam around in our daily routines, while every so often throwing some monkey wrench into the works for some excitement.

I've met numerous security folks over the years who have acknowledged often using security cameras for their personal pleasure, such as stalking and voyeurism.

Ron

Could happen here. Watch this. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23623631)

Naomi Wolf paths towards fascism
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjALf12PAWc

If it hasn't worked for England, why anywhere? (4, Interesting)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623737)

Despite the presence of many centralized CCD cameras in London, crime levels have yet to be reduced.

If police cannot effectively track and follow criminals, what makes anyone think China can do any better tracking and following dissidents? It's a lot more obvious on a camera when a real crime is being committed, far less so when a thought crime is...

What makes anyone think we should not laugh at the Chinese for attempting this? Let them waste their money on this fruitless pursuit of technology that someone with a square of cloth or a bit of paint can work around.

People would be wise to remember that China has done a lot worse things than point cameras at people in the past. It seems like dissidents would be better off with a China that has fewer actual agents on the streets to collect and track people, and more worthless cameras collecting so much data they are unusable.

Re:If it hasn't worked for England, why anywhere? (3, Interesting)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623839)

I believe that the unspoken opinion on Slashdot is that cameras are only useless in free societies, and that totalitarian societies are much better able to make use of them. This is how people are simultaneously able to hold the opinion that 1984 warned us about all of this and these cameras aren't all that useful anyway.

I'm not even sure that this unspoken opinion is wrong. If cameras can be sufficiently automated, or even just enough people can be put on duty watching them, then they can be used to compile behavior habits which don't pass the threshold of crime but which can be used for other oppressive purposes. The big worry with the proliferation of cameras in free societies is that the push to make use of the cameras will result in those societies becoming much less free.

Welcome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23623765)

I for one welcome our Chinese brothers into the secure world of police surveillance!

From Austin, TX:
Sixth Street is only one of four "high-crime" areas in which Chief Acevedo plans to install "Big Brother"-style surveillance cameras. Other targets include the intersection of North Lamar and Rundberg; 12th Street and Chicon in East Austin; and along Montopolis Blvd. on the Southeast side of town. The particular neighborhoods have ostensibly been chosen because they have "high crime rates." Chief Acevedo believes he can get "federal funds" to pay surveillance equipment manufacturers and installers, and for maintenance of the system. It is likely these monies would be allocated from the Department of Homeland Security as an âoeanti-terrorismâ measure. The Statesman raised questions over some important details yet to be arranged in the Chiefâ(TM)s camera proposal. Tony Plohetski reported (1/24/08)

just following the UK's lead (1)

speculatrix (678524) | more than 5 years ago | (#23623933)

well, China wants to be like the west, so it's only copying the English government.

sadly, whilst this is a vague attempt at humour, it's also mostly true.

I did have a longer response but the stupid new slashdot posting mechanism caused me to lose it when I accidentally clicked on something using my overly sensitive touch pad, had to click back and of course its gone.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...