Facial Recognition: the Death of Western Democracy

Facial Recognition Technology
Facial Recognition Technology

I read the book 1984, about 7 years ago, in the year 2014, and thought to myself back then that our privacy was being invaded by having our data taken and sold without the consent of the users. However, today in the middle of 2021, countries like North Korea and China and the Chinese enforcement of facial recognition technology would plagiarize the book 1984.

The only difference between China and the book 1984 is that Big Brother or The Chinese Communist Party cannot read people’s minds—or at least not yet!

For those who aren’t familiar with the book 1984, it was written by George Orwell and was published as a fiction novel in 1949. Decades before, we all had smartphones, the internet, computers, and other devices. Orwell wrote in the book that ‘Big Brother’ had cameras on every streetlight and street corner watching the people.

In the book 1984, it would get to the point where people had to be careful of how they think, or ‘Big Brother’ would hear them, and they would be sent to jail, people would be hypnotized and conditioned to think and act like ‘Big Brother’ wants them to, and or they would disappear.

The Chinese government has absolute power over their citizens, who must behave and follow orders by using facial recognition technology being led by The Chinese Communist Party. The Chinese government can make people disappear and are conditioned not to lash out towards the government.

The wealthiest person in China who owns the company Alibaba Group, Jack Ma, owns the China-based company known as Amazon in the rest of the world. Jack had made the mistake of speaking out towards the Chinese president Xi Jinping and The Chinese Communist Party. As a result, he would go missing in November of 2020 for 3 months, and no one knows where he went or who took him there and why they let him go after 3 months.

China’s government has so much control over their citizens that if people don’t behave properly or say negative things about the government, they will get a lower social score. The lower the social score, the fewer rights and privileges they receive.

The Chinese government uses facial recognition technology to watch and have control over the people. They use cameras on citizens’ smartphones or other devices to access their heavily censored internet. In addition, the Chinese Communist Party can watch their citizens through the many cameras set up on their many streets and their many stores, and they use drones as well.

The Chinese Communist Party president, Xi Jinping, decided to change the law in 2017 for a presidential term in China from lasting a maximum of 5 years to indefinite, meaning he can now rule China until he dies if he wants to.

Facial Recognition Technology
Facial Recognition Technology

Facial recognition cameras are being and are set up in countries like the United Kingdom. Still, the government in the UK started setting up their facial recognition cameras on streets and set up on police vans to catch criminals. The UK police wait in their vans, cars, and or other areas close to the cameras, and they wait to see whatever criminal walks around the corner and is exposed to the facial recognition software.

Studies in the UK involving using facial recognition technology by police to catch criminals did not work over 80% of the time.

As facial recognition gains popularity and the technology enhances, police are now also using the tech in the western world. In addition, the United States has been using facial recognition technology in airports, border control and customs for years now.

As it grows in the US, some states have taken the initiative to ban facial recognition technology. However, knowing the adverse effects of enforcing facial recognition technology like wrongful accusations at an 80% rate and taking human rights can help prevent it from happening in the first place.

Facial Recognition Technology
Facial Recognition Technology

Canadian law enforcement had a contract with Clearview AI for their facial recognition technology. The government made it legal in June of 2020 to make it legal for the RCMP to use facial recognition as part of our Privacy Act to use the technology to track people and arrest them. As addressed here in the note in The Senate:

“I have the honour to submit to Parliament the Special Report of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada entitled Police Use of Facial Recognition Technology in Canada and the Way Forward. This tabling is done according to section 39(1) of the Privacy Act.”

If Canadians and Americans are now under mass surveillance by the police, doesn’t that take away from the point of democracy in the first place?

Are we going to turn into a communist country run similar to that of China?

Is Western democracy dead?

Are we going to let Big Brother take over our privacy and minds and let the fictional book 1984 become a non-fiction story?

Look up at your current streetlights, are the newer and improved and hanging up higher so they can have a 3D view of the streets?

Do you use facial recognition technology to unlock your phones?

“Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.” – George Orwell.

Facial Recognition Technology
Facial Recognition Technology

Sources:

 https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40961427-1984

https://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasbrewster/2019/07/04/london-police-facial-recognition-fails-80-of-the-time-and-must-stop-now/?sh=5e0e2fc8bf95

https://www.vox.com/recode/2019/7/18/20698307/facial-recognition-technology-us-government-fight-for-the-future

https://www.priv.gc.ca/en/opc-actions-and-decisions/ar_index/202021/sr_rcmp/

https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-56448688#:~:text=Jack%20Ma%20was%20about%20to,outspoken%20billionaire%20suddenly%20went%20missing.

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