The Rise of the Surveillance State

The virus is the perfect excuse for Statism, globalism, and 24/7 surveillance:

We dare not be unaware of what is taking place in the world, including some very ominous and threatening developments. The rise of Big Brother statism is one such issue that we should always be aware of and alert to. And the rise of the Total State is not confined to Communist dictatorship, past or present.

We see the West increasingly moving in this direction – especially using the excuse of ‘keeping us safe’. As such, we all need to be aware of what is happening before it is too late. Consider a major part of all this: the modern surveillance state.

Never before have governments had such overwhelming powers and abilities to keep tabs on everyone, 24/7. I have written often of late about one of the prime examples of this: Communist China. It is the surveillance state par excellence. Let me look at the situation in China a bit further, before discussing similar eerie trends in the West. One recent article in a security management magazine says this for example:

People in China are among the most surveilled in the world, taking 16 of the top 20 spots on the most surveilled cities list based on the number of cameras per 1,000 people in an annual assessment from Comparitech.

 

The analysis found that globally there are already more than 770 million cameras in use, and 54 percent of those cameras are in China. Taiyuan, for instance, has approximately 117 cameras per 1,000 people. China laid the groundwork for this surveillance network decades ago with community grid management and the Golden Shield Project, which helped local officials and law enforcement begin their digital transformation of existing surveillance practices.

 

Now, China has a vast surveillance infrastructure made up from video systems, Internet monitoring, tracking, and more. And nowhere is the power of this system more on display than in the Xinjiang region to monitor approximately 13 million Turkic Muslims—Uyghurs—through mobile apps, biometric data collection, artificial intelligence, and more.

 

“The mass surveillance programs in Xinjiang are China’s most visible and intrusive, but they are just one end of a spectrum,” wrote Maya Wang, China senior researcher for Human Rights Watch, in a piece for Foreign Affairs. “Chinese authorities use technology to control the population all over the country in subtler but still powerful ways. The central bank is adopting digital currency, which will allow Beijing to surveil—and control—people’s financial transactions. China is building so-called safe cities, which integrate data from intrusive surveillance systems to predict and prevent everything from fires to natural disasters and political dissent.”

 

China has figured out how to entwine surveillance with digital governance “not only to calibrate coercion and repression, but also to provide public services and to co-opt citizens,” says Sheena Chestnut Greitens, associate professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. “Surveillance is an overall project to make citizens highly legible to the party-state.” www.asisonline.org/security-management-magazine/monthly-issues/security-technology/archive/2021/june/The-Rise-of-The-Surveillance-State/

As mentioned, the West seems to be not far behind, especially as states grow in power and individuals lose their basic liberties in the wake of the Rona. One piece from late last year spoke of how “Covid-19 is accelerating the surveillance state”. Here are parts of that piece:

The first global pandemic of the digital age has accelerated the international adoption of surveillance and public security technologies, normalising new forms of widespread, overt state surveillance.

 

These technologies have been layered on top of already pervasive forms of privatised data surveillance through smartphones and the ‘internet of things’ (IoT). The pandemic has also fuelled the normalisation of surveillance in previously private contexts. The risk of this new era of surveillance is that it has the potential to permanently shift power from citizens to the state and, in doing so, entrench global trends towards a more illiberal world.

 

The far-reaching consequences of the pandemic have seen public health reframed as a safety and national security issue globally. That in itself isn’t necessarily bad, but in many countries the securitisation of public health has generated sudden momentum to cross privacy lines until recently thought unacceptable in democracies.

 

These include the use of tools that integrate public health and private telecommunications databases and governments’ use of personal location data from smartphones to peremptorily trace whole-of-population interactions or to enforce voluntary quarantine compliance.

The authors continue:

The pandemic has driven advances in facial-recognition technology, a particularly problematic and intrusive form of surveillance that enables rapid connection of an individual’s physical presence with deep online data profiles. For example, by March 2020 the large Chinese biometric surveillance company Hanwang claimed its technology could recognise people in masks with 95% accuracy, after Chinese hospitals began requesting the capability in January.

 

Facial-recognition technologies integrated with thermal-imaging cameras purporting to detect people with fevers have been marketed by at least 10 companies to police forces and governments around the world since the start of the pandemic. Fever-screening systems are reportedly being trialled at airports in Australia, the UK and India, using deep learning algorithms to quickly detect body temperatures in crowds of up to 2,000 people per hour.

 

Governments seeking greater social and political control have an opportunity to use Covid-19 as cloud cover to make capital investments in surveillance technologies, including those that enable, store and process mass collections of data on people’s location, activity (both physical and digital) and biometrics (including DNA and genomics).

 

The data will be sourced from IoT sensors that are in use across a range of platforms, including surveillance cameras and medical devices—as well as from mobile applications, social media and other personal internet use. The aggregation of this data, particularly when coupled with advances in machine learning, will lead to more highly accurate predictive and sentiment analysis, which is likely to be used far beyond public health applications.

And again:

Arguments that ever more intrusive forms of surveillance are necessary or inevitable even in democracies serve a range of powerful agendas with fundamentally anti-democratic effects. The proliferation of these technologies risks entrenching dangerous power imbalances all the way up from the private, domestic sphere through the relationship between national governments and their citizens, to international divisions between authoritarian and democratic states.

 

Surveillance and public security technologies, combined with digital propaganda and disinformation techniques, hand more effective tools to governments to monitor and manipulate whole populations and further entrench the state’s capacity to silence dissent. At stake are the health of democracies and the character of global governance and international relations more broadly, with the risk of the technology tilting the playing field towards authoritarianism. www.aspistrategist.org.au/covid-19-is-accelerating-the-surveillance-state/

Finally, a piece warning about the problems of smartphones in general says this in particular about the growing state and the shrinking individual in relation to things like COVID papers:

I think every decent American should be horrified by the prospect of so-called “vaccine passports.” The idea of using smartphones as a registry of persons who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 was uncritically endorsed by our leaders months before vaccines had been introduced among the general population or even tested. This is unfortunate. Vaccine passports should be regarded with loathing by everyone, including their loudest proponents—namely, the sorts of people who also suggest that having to present photo identification in order to vote in a public election is a hideous encroachment upon the freedoms guaranteed to individuals. As it happens, I share their instinctive distaste for identification cards, not only in polling places but in bars, convenience stores, banks, and virtually every other space in which they are required, which is why I do not see the wisdom of expanding the “Papers, please!” mindset, according to which we are all criminals or enemies of the state until we can offer definitive proof to the contrary.

 

So far from being a straightforward addition to the aforementioned inconveniences or a new value-neutral public health technology, digitally abetted vaccine passports represent a point of no return, after which it will be impossible to imagine a world in which basic freedom of movement and action exist except on sufferance granted by the algorithms. Sooner or later the same technology that requires persons to demonstrate that they received certain shots six months ago will force them to show that they have voluntarily undergone more recent medical interventions, or that they have agreed to “terms of use” agreements in which they abjure certain opinions said to be in violation of the code of conduct enjoined by, say, the global casual dining chain whose neighborhood franchise one is attempting to enter. (The very real possibility of payment processing and banking services being denied to persons for ideological reasons has been discussed at some length by those who are in a position to understand how absurdly simple it would be from a technical perspective and how effortlessly it could be justified by the powers that be.) www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-tyranny-of-smart-phones-and-dumb-passports/

I have said from day one of the Wuhan virus that states absolutely love crises and emergencies. What better way to quickly and conveniently consolidate power and control, and keep the masses under their thumb? The Rona has provided the perfect vehicle for this.

Indeed, as I noted months ago when discussing the Great Reset, globalists like Klaus Schwab are ecstatic about the virus. These folks are milking this for all its worth. As Schwab stated back in June 2020:

Clearly, the will to build a better society does exist. We must use it to secure the Great Reset that we so badly need. That will require stronger and more effective governments. . . . The COVID-19 crisis is affecting every facet of people’s lives in every corner of the world. But tragedy need not be its only legacy. On the contrary, the pandemic represents a rare but narrow window of opportunity to reflect, reimagine, and reset our world to create a healthier, more equitable, and more prosperous future. www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/06/now-is-the-time-for-a-great-reset/

See these pieces for more on the Great Reset and the threat it poses to freedom and democracy: billmuehlenberg.com/category/politics/the-great-reset/

The growing surveillance state is part and parcel of what the coercive utopians have in mind. You have been warned.

[1686 words]

14 Replies to “The Rise of the Surveillance State”

  1. Thank you very much for the article Bill .There is a lot to think about. Everyone should be very worried about the increasing surveillance and control now being employed by governments in the West. They could not increase it without using the fear factor and the pandemic has provided the perfect opportunity for that. As for the Chinese Communist party it was well aware that it had to be something that serious for Western governments to succumb.

  2. Have you rallied people to be peacefully protesting in the streets there? Looks like quite a crowd and we’re all hoping that the gov’t will listen. Any chance of that?

  3. Stateside, today I read that Apple is planning to inspect all photographs on all Apple devices to combat pornography. Then as long as they are doing that then all information on an Apple device is available to be scrutinized by Apple for what Apple determines to be good or evil (subjectively of course).

  4. China doesn’t have CITIZENS it has SUBJECTS which is just one step away from being SLAVES! I would say we are somewhere between CITIZEN and SUBJECT at the moment in the West leaning closer to SUBJECT.

  5. The TV show Person of Interest had a clear understanding of the surveillance state. The opening line of “You are being watched” with people on NYC streets with their faces in camera boxes was very prophetic. And even whilst that show had 5 seasons during the past decade technology has continued to go further in that direction.

  6. Please see the following link that appeared this morning

    https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/health-problems/joe-hildebrand-people-who-refuse-to-get-vaccinated-are-no-longer-decent-members-of-society/news-story/9843d048ab2e740a95b0eafefc96e154

    The first sentence after the headline (printed in bold face) reads:

    “Any eligible Aussie who hasn’t gotten the jab at this point is no longer a
    truly decent member of society”.

    Oh, really? From that, we deduce that any person who has joined the queue
    to get the jab is not a ‘decent member of society’, even if he/she is desperate
    to get the jab that is expected to shield them from Covid. This is a very harsh
    and unreasonable comment from a journalist to make in the media. We can
    also infer from his comment that persons who are sceptical of these vaccines
    are a menace to the community. In any case, we are told that we still don’t
    have enough dosages for the entire population at risk in Australia.

    Readers are already aware that some vaccines have had severe side-effects
    in people who took the jab, even fatal in certain cases. So there is reason to
    be cautious about receiving such a vaccine. Which version, by the way?

  7. Many thanks for that Bill. He sometimes is passed off as a conservative, and is often on Sky News of late. There is nothing conservative about reckless remarks like that. Being free to choose, and championing limited government, are key aspects of the conservative worldview. His view is not unlike what was said of the Jews by the Nazis: they are unclean and a danger to society – they “contaminate” the blood of pure Germans. Take a hike Joe – your fascism is showing.

  8. Well Bill Lloyd-Smith, Nanny think you had a little too much to THINK to use a meme.

    In all seriousness Bill M is right, it started this way with the Jews in Nazi Germany and 2/3rd of European Jewry was killed by the end. They’re blaming us unvaxxed for their continued woes same situation too. We have been attack and arrested as the Jews were. Are ghettos for the unvaxxed the next step as ghettos for the Jews were? We all know the step after that is camps. And the finally ovens.

    I know there are Jews looking out to see if this thing starts happening to Jews again but will they say anything if it is gentiles going through this treatment?? Did they learn Rev Niemöller’s lesson?? Or did they learn from the shameful actions of the German church that just sang louder. Or will they simply say “the problems of others are not our concern.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: