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Information/Technology

626 Million Surveillance Cameras Are All over China: 432.2 surveillance cameras per 1,000 people

According to a 2019 projection by IHS Markit, a leading information analysis firm, 54 percent, or 540 million, of the more than 1 billion surveillance cameras deployed around the world by the end of 2021 are or will be deployed in China. In fact, this is a low estimate. The latest statistics and estimates put the number of public surveillance cameras across China at 626 million.

A study published by the information research firm Comparitech on July 11, 2022 analyzed that if one takes the lower estimate, which is 540 million surveillance cameras deployed in China, there is an average of 372.8 surveillance cameras per 1,000 people; if adopting the higher estimate, 626 million surveillance cameras, that translates into an average of 432.2 surveillance cameras per 1,000 people. By either figure, the ratio exceeds that of the other most populous cities in the world by hundreds of times.

For example, in the world’s largest city, Tokyo, the capital of Japan, there is an average of only 1.06 surveillance cameras per 1,000 people; the fifth largest city, Mexico City, Mexico, has an average of only 3.62 surveillance cameras per 1,000 people. New York, the largest city in the United States has an average of 6.87 surveillance cameras per 1,000 people. The second largest city, Los Angeles, has an average of 8.77 surveillance cameras per 1,000 people.

Among the hundreds of millions of surveillance cameras installed in China, more than 200 million surveillance cameras are controlled by the Chinese police force’s ‘Skynet’ surveillance system. It spreads across commercial and residential areas and highways. The ratio is almost one surveillance camera for every two Chinese people.

Source: Voice of America, August 26, 2022
https://www.voachinese.com/a/ai-technology-has-become-an-effective-tool-for-china-s-control-over-its-citizens-20220826/6718069.html

CNA: Estimates Say Twitter Accepts “Hundreds of Millions of Dollars a Year” from China for Ads

Primary Taiwanese news agency Central News Agency (CNA) recently reported that, although China bans 1.4 billion citizens from Twitter, its government spent a great deal of money on global advertising on the Twitter social platform. China has become Twitter’s fastest-growing overseas advertising market and one of its largest revenue generators outside the United States. A review of open government information shows budget documents and propaganda tweets from 2020 to 2022 found that Chinese local governments and the Communist Party propaganda offices in cities, provinces and even in districts across China have been buying a large number of Twitter ads in the U.S. These campaigns are often outsourced by the government to state media, spreading the word about its economic achievements to international audiences, and, with exemptions, circumventing Twitter’s ban on state media advertising. For the first time, it shows how important China has become to Twitter. Twitter is in a tough spot right now, as the company’s U.S. business has stagnated and it still faces investor pressure on growth goals. However, China’s business has become a source of internal conflict at Twitter. One group is inclined to expand its business opportunities as much as possible. The other is concerned about the wisdom of dealing with state-run institutions amid growing tensions between the United States and China. According to sources familiar with this matter, Chinese gaming, e-commerce and technology companies are also major Twitter customers. The overseas advertising that Twitter sells to Chinese customers is estimated to be “hundreds of millions of dollars a year.” Twitter declined to comment on internal discussions and its sales in China.

Source: CNA, September 14, 2022
https://www.cna.com.tw/news/aopl/202209140066.aspx

TikTok Refused to Commit to U.S. Demand to Block User Data Flowing to China

Taiwanese news site NewTalk recently reported that, at the Homeland Security Committee Senate hearing a few days ago, when confronted by US senators, TikTok Chief Operating Officer Vanessa Pappas refused to promise to prevent the flow of U.S. user data to China. Pappas only said the company will work with the U.S. government on an agreement that will “address all national security concerns.” When asked if the company would completely block access to all U.S. data by “Chinese TikTok employees, employees of parent company ByteDance, or any other Chinese person with the ability to access information about U.S. users,” Pappas was reluctant to commit. TikTok is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance and its founder is Chinese. Under China’s National Security Law and its Intelligence Law, the Beijing government can compel companies to provide intelligence agencies with customer information. In June of this year, online news BuzzFeed pointed out, based on leaked meeting recordings, that ByteDance’s Chinese employees had repeatedly accessed TikTok’s US user data. TikTok later admitted that ByteDance employees could, under certain circumstances, have access to the data of U.S. users.

Source: NewTalk, September 16, 2022
https://newtalk.tw/news/view/2022-09-16/817811

China’s Mobile Phone Market Saw a Significant Decline in July

Well-known Chinese news site NetEase (NASDAQ: NTES) recently reported that, according to official data released by the China Institute of Communication, in July, mobile phone shipments in the domestic market were 19.908 million units, a year-over-year decrease of 30.6 percent. Among these, 5G mobile phones were 14.672 million units, a year-over-year decrease of 35.7 percent. From January to July 2022, the domestic shipments of mobile phones totaled 156 million units, a year-over-year decrease of 23.0 percent. Among these. 5G mobile phone shipments were 124 million units, a year-over-year decrease of 17.7 percent. In July, domestic brand mobile phone shipments were 18.281 million units, down 29.4 percent year-over-year, accounting for 91.8 percent of mobile phone shipments in the same period. A total of 18 new models were launched in July, down 25.0 percent year-over-year. The latest data from market agency CINNO Research shows that in July, affected by the continued downturn in consumer spending in the Chinese domestic smartphone market, except for Apple mobile phones, mainstream domestic Android brands all showed a negative year-over-year decline. Among them, Vivo and OPPO fell significantly. They were down 34.7 percent and 33.3 percent year-over-year respectively. Honor and Xiaomi fell by 12.1 percent and 17.5 percent year-over-year respectively. Thanks to the continued strong market performance of the iPhone 13 series, Apple saw a positive year-over-year sales growth in July. In the face of the continuous decline in domestic market demand,  there has been no breakthrough in chip design, or in appearance or function. Major domestic mobile phone brands are still facing serious challenges.

Source: NetEase, September 15, 2022
https://www.163.com/dy/article/HHBH64VR05129QAF.html

By 2027, China Faces Having a Shortage of Network Security Personnel of 3.27 million

China’s Ministry of Education recently issued a “White Paper on the Real-World Capabilities of Cybersecurity Talent,” The White Paper states that 34 universities in the country already have academic programs of cyberspace security in place. Still, by 2027, China will see a shortage of 3.27 million cyber security personnel, At that time, the annual production of college educated talent in this field is estimated to be only 30,000.

According to mainland Chinese media, the areas of high demand include the ability to conduct real-time attack and defense, to identify vulnerabilities, and to fill the needs of engineering and development.

A scholar at the Steering Committee of Cyberspace Security in Higher Education under the Ministry of Education said, “When we are attacked with the backing of a nation’s power, should we fight back? We should do what we should do as the government allows. From the perspective of talent training, at least we should do both the shield and the spear. We can only really safeguard our national security if we do a good job of both the spear and the shield.”

Source: China Central Television, September 7, 2022
https://news.cctv.com/2022/09/07/ARTIZbES3G0QfcMBN6W1UwyU220907.shtml

RFA Chinese: WeChat Notified Overseas Users that Data will be Sent to China

Radio Free Asia (RFA) Chinese Edition recently reported that a large number of overseas WeChat users have been notified that, if they accept the WeChat service agreement, their personal information will be sent back to servers in China. Experts pointed out that WeChat once intended to set up domestic and overseas versions to avert any allegations of infringement overseas. The fact is, however, that WeChat has never stopped acting as the CCP’s censorship proxy. Jurists are calling on Western countries to legislate to ban Chinese apps to prevent the CCP from its long-arm intrusions. On September 6, WeChat users in many countries said that when they were about to read the content of their WeChat subscription, they suddenly received a prompt saying that once the overseas users activate the WeChat function, their personal information will be sent back to China for processing. Under international pressure and the requirements of privacy protection regulations, in September last year, WeChat “separated” into the domestic version of Weixin and the international version of WeChat. It then asked non-China-bound mobile phone users to re-sign the WeChat agreement to show that the company complied with the  laws and regulations of the host country. So now it has just torn off the original mask. Experts said that the Chinese government has always used WeChat in China as a tool to control society and censor speech, which is actually part of its establishment of China’s high-tech totalitarian control, and it has always used WeChat as a tool to export censorship overseas. The United States and other Western countries should consider and re-evaluate WeChat’s threats to national security, data security, personal privacy, etc. Western countries should pass legislation on Chinese apps, or even block Chinese apps, like India has done.

Source: RFA Chinese, September 7, 2022
https://www.rfa.org/cantonese/news/wechat-09072022123951.html

China’s State Think Tank: China’s AI Technology Is Leading the World

The 2022 World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) was held in Shanghai from September 1 to 3. At the conference, the China Institute of Science and Technology Information, an institute under China’s Ministry of Science and Technology, released the “2021 Global AI Innovation Index Report”

The report assessed 46 countries on their AI innovation index and divided them into a list of four tiers. Tier 1 has only the U.S. and China, both of which have a significant lead over the countries in the other tiers. Tier 2 has 9 countries, including South Korea and the U.K. Tier 3 has 13 countries, including Sweden and Luxemburg. Tier 4 has 22 countries, including India and Russia.

The report said that, in recent years, China’s AI capabilities have kept increasing. The gap between its overall score and that of the U.S. has been closing. The strength of China’s AI capabilities are in the following areas:

  1. Increasing in the influence of its open source projects.
  2. Maintaining the world’s number one position in the number of super-computing centers and being among the world’s top 500 centers. By June 2021, China had 188 super-computing centers in the world’s top 500.
  3. Prospering its AI companies. By September 2021, China had 880 AI companies.
  4. Increasing in AI output, including AI thesis and patent applications and authorizations.
  5. Rapid development of technologies of 5G and the Internet of Things.

Source: SINA, September 3, 2022
https://finance.sina.com.cn/jjxw/2022-09-03/doc-imqmmtha5790621.shtml?cref=cj

 

U.S. and China Compete for Submarine Cable System for African Countries

Russian media Sputnik reported that the U.S. and China are competing on building a submarine Internet cable system for the African countries. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said during his visit to Africa that the U.S. was raising money to build such a cable network to connect Africa to the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Europe. This will be one of the first projects under the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII) initiative, which was offered by the G7 to counter China’s expansion.

On the other hand, China has started its own “Peace” cable project, which starts from Pakistan, then moves to the East African, Africa continent, and then to Europe. The second phase of the project will connect South Africa and Singapore.

China has provided a lot of capital to build telecom infrastructure in Africa. These network projects have established Chinese companies’ dominance in Africa, especially Huawei and ZTE. Huawei has built or is building millions of digital processing centers and offered cloud computing services in many African countries, including Zimbabwe, Senegal, Zambia, Togo, Tanzania, Mozambique, Mali, and Madagascar.

Sputnik quoted a Russian expert who predicted that China will win the competition against the U.S.

Source: Sputnik, August 20, 2022
https://sputniknews.cn/20220820/1043236644.html