Researchers: More and more mass surveillance with AI worldwide


The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to monitor large sections of the population is spreading worldwide. At least 75 of the 176 countries surveyed used such techniques, according to a recent analysis by the US think tank Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Thus, 64 countries use video surveillance with biometric facial recognition and 52 countries rely on "intelligent" policing (predictive policing). Systems for "smart cities" with numerous sensors can be found in 56 countries.

China is driving this trend according to the study the strongest in the world. As a result, AI technologies from companies such as Huawei, Hikvision, Dahua, and ZTE are found in 63 states, of which 36 have joined Beijing's "digital silk road" initiative. Huawei alone supplies at least 50 countries with relevant solutions, making it the largest exporter in this field. In second place is the Japanese group NEC, which supplies 14 states. In many cases, China is subsidizing the sale of "advanced technology for suppression" to Kenya, Laos, Mongolia, Uganda or Uzbekistan.

However, US companies are also not idle in this field, equipping 32 countries with surveillance systems based on the authors' smart speakers, automated border control equipment, the cloud, or the Internet of Things. Among the biggest players there are IBM, Palantir and Cisco. The authors of other companies ascribe an "important role" in this field, for example in France, Germany, Israel or Japan, without, however, naming names. The democratic governments there do not do enough to control the export of such systems, which are often associated with a number of violations.

Study Director Steven Feldstein was surprised that many western democracies swear by AI surveillance techniques. Thirty-one percent of states with "advanced" forms of popular rule insist on this, compared to 37 percent of closed authoritarian regimes. However, governments in the latter as well as in semi-democracies have tended to misuse the systems, such as spying on or suppressing whole populations. Feldstein refers in particular to China, Russia and Saudi Arabia. In general, 40 of the 50 nations with the maximum military budget also used surveillance systems with AI components.


. (tagsToTranslate) Democracy (t) Artificial Intelligence (t) Surveillance