Silkie Carlo: Chinese CCTV is watching you

Florence Read meets Silkie Carlo.

Read the supporting article:

Listen to the podcast version:

Read Big Brother Watch’s report:

There are six million security cameras in use in the UK, one for every 11 people, and the majority are Chinese surveillance systems. London, where UnHerd has its offices, is the most surveilled city outside of China, and has more cameras per person than Beijing. So it has to be asked, are we being watched?

That is one claim made by a new report from Big Brother Watch on surveillance cameras made by Chinese companies. Silkie Carlo, one of the editors of the report, and the director of Big Brother Watch, joined Florence Read to investigate.

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00:00 – 00:39 – Introduction
00:39 – 03:22 – Silkie Carlo outlines Big Brother Watch’s new report into Chinese surveillance systems in the UK
03:22 – 08:41 – What kind of surveillance systems are being used?
08:41 – 13:03 – Did governments lay the groundwork for surveillance states during the Covid years?
13:03 – 17:49 – Should Britain be taking action against hostile states and their spying, as we have done against Russia during the war in Ukraine?
17:49 – 21:13 – How can ordinary citizens resist mass surveillance?
21:13 – 21:47 – Concluding thoughts

#unherd #china #surveillance

Written by UnHerd


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  1. We should have a techie comment on this material. What is a "distinct possibility" of data theft? What about the Apple phones made mostly in China? What if Germans are spying on the world selling their Volkswagens and Bemers? Or the Japanese with their Canons, Nikons and Sonys? What about the Koreans with their Samsungs? Did anybody check for "unauthorized signals" there? And what signals? Was it a software update or actual footage? Any evidence? This Silky is manufacturing an anti-Chinese paranoia and Unheard is sliding into the dumps with such blatantly phobic programming. The word "genocide" was repeated multiple times yet there's really not a single proof of actual genocide taking place in China. Listen to the UN envoy comments on that. Also, not a word that the Uyghurs were involved in multiple terrorist attacks in China and that such surveillance might have been justified.

  2. I wonder who pays this guest’s salary because the anti China stance is obvious. IMO, if it comes to that, my own government and it’s corporate data harvesting acolytes are more likely than China to pursue me unjustly.

  3. Use Local IP address that can't go to internet and use firewall that can filter access to network devices, hire security network operators, regularly inspection for cctv and network devices, especially in government building.

  4. This is no way specific to china.
    And it makes absolutely no sense calling china the biggest surveillance state and then saying there are more cameras in London than in Beijing. Like wtf

  5. I was watching a web cam in Barnstaple several years ago when I saw two people throw a large bag off of a bridge. The bag was big enough to hold a body and it took both people to throw it over the side. I bet the Chinese see stuff like that also.

  6. Silkie Carlo's presentation here is not persuasive. eg at 19:29 she argues that London is one of the most surveilled cities in the world, and crime hasn't gone down. ergo CCTV surveillance doesn't work. This is a logic error. It is possible that crime would have been even higher without the CCTVs. It is possible that CCTVs don't reduce crime, but make it easier for police to identify criminals and achieve convictions. A 40 year meta-analysis from City University of New York concluded that CCTV surveillance resulted in "a significant and modest decrease in crime". Ms. Carlo's arguments seemed quite superficial and largely based on emotion. I do however fully agree though that if used, the technology should be purchased from Western companies not from the CPC.

  7. The entire Western (democratic) society is seen as the enemy, the CCP believe they will one day rule us all – this is the intention.

    There is only ONE God with three parts, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Humans have three parts, the body, soul and spirit. ONE person three parts.
    The Bible says that we are all sinners.
    As it is written: There is none righteous no not one. Romans 3:10
    For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23
    But we are all as an unclean thing and all our righteousness are as filthy rags. Isaiah 64:6
    For the wages of sin is death. Romans 6:23(the word “death” in this verse means eternal separation, from God in hell).
    Come now,  and let us reason together,  saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.Isaiah 1:18
    Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures and that He was buried and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures.1CORINTHIANS 15:3-8
    In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:14
    For by grace ye are saved, through faith; and not of yourselves     
    it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
    I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. Galatians 2:21
    Your trust in Jesus and what He did for you on the cross, is what saves you from hell.
    The moment you trust in Jesus and only Jesus, you are saved.
    After people get saved they get baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

  9. 11:36 May I add something to Silkie's argument here- Certain Chinese tech giants have been under obligations by the CCP to turn over their data to the latter long before 2020, and that includes WeChat's parent company TenCent; and with the advent of COVID it would not be surprising that countless more Chinese CCTV/surveillance companies would've been required to do so regardless if they personally wanted to do it or not. As a Chinese-born British-American that spent my youth in HK until 2016 as well as lived in Australia from 2016 till early 2021(thus seen the early days of COVID there and loudly called it out), I 100% stand by all Silkie has said here, as I deeply share her cause of anti-authoritarianism!

  10. Please don't ask for human rights as that is a level down. The rights of man and woman are a totally different set of rules. Don't become a dead corporate machine with human rights.

  11. Does the assumption that China detains Ughers in detention camps conflict with this video which claims much of what we hear about China is carefully orchestrated propaganda on part of U.S. FBI & GB’s BBC? CHINA, truth! – Propaganda by US military, FBI, Britain, etc; (Ugher repression myth?); Vanessa Beeley on Redacted, 11jul22

  12. Silkie seems to understand about the turn-key totalitarian system, for which massive infrastructure has been laid out during the pandemic. Check-point society, here we come. You somehow turn out to be a troublemaker to those in power? Let's blackmail you with footage of that one messed up night that your spouse doesn't know about..

  13. There was a time when the US and Great Britain had the edge on surveillance technology. Those days have passed and will probably not return. China, by investing in the health and education of it’s people, have the edge now. As evidence, consider its newly developed computational model that can process 178 TRILLION parameters. Also, China’s 1 gigawatt space solar power station is scheduled for operation by 2050. Lifting 500 million people out of poverty within 50 years is nothing to sneeze at. Finally, its one belt and road initiative is remaking the globe by investing in developing countries as a partner rather than a bully…like you know who typically does.

    This segment of UnHerd reminds me of Dave Eggers’ diptych, The Circle and The Every…these books of fiction detail some situations that will come true at which point these books will become non-fiction.

  14. I heard that a very senior met officer declared (paraphrasing) 'Chinas got it right with its CCTV/facial recognition approach', I'm not surprised. Also, as others have noted, a properly setup (firewalled, VPN'd, port limited etc etc) system shouldn't be sending traffic anywhere.

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