The News Today
__
11.24.20
Unflattering Comparison

Professor: US Surveillance State Is a Lot Like China’s

__Kristin Houser__Filed Under: Future Society
Jürgen Jester via Pixabay/Tag Hartman-Simkins

Disturbing Similarities

Between its social credit system, car-tracking chips, and widespread use of facial recognition tech, China has earned a reputation as a surveillance state the likes of which previously only existed in dystopian fiction.

But in a scathing new piece for Quartz, David Carroll, an associate professor of media design at Parsons School of Design, argues that the United States is an equally brutal surveillance state — specifically in terms of how it uses technology to control a minority population.

Minority Report

In China, members of the mostly-Muslim ethnic group the Uighurs live under some of the nation’s most intense surveillance measures — and if this surveillance reveals something the government doesn’t like, Uighurs are sent to concentration camps China prefers to call “re-education camps.”

In the U.S., meanwhile, the surveillance focus is on immigrants who’ve entered the country illegally — but the means of controlling the population isn’t all that different.

Glass Houses

As Carrol wrote in Quartz, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents are now equipped with an app that has a user interface “seemingly optimized for ethnic cleansing” to help them “pinpoint targets for deportation.”

The U.S. even has its own version of not-concentration-camps in its “detention facilities.”

“Pointing at China’s oppression of the Uighur peoples makes us feel better about the caged baby asylum seekers, all alone in Texas, wearing weeks-old diapers under 24-hour fluorescence on cold concrete,” Carroll wrote. “But ignoring the problem at the border doesn’t fix it.”

READ MORE: China embraces its surveillance state. The US pretends it doesn’t have one. [Quartz]

More on China’s surveillance state: China Wants Google’s Help Persecuting Muslims. Google Appears Ready to Give It.