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.” https://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.
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. https://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.
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. https://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: https://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.