China possesses the top facial recognition startups in the world and is importing its surveillance capabilities to other countries faster than policy regulators can keep up. Australia is likely being influenced by Chinese policies here, reports the Guardian.
We don’t think of going on the internet, age verification for porn or gambling or transportation as ways where facial recognition would be mandatory for citizens, but it may soon be that way. China’s recent foray into gaming limits for minors suggests a police-state control of internet freedoms.
The Future of Digital Identity is Ubiquitous Facial Recognition Smart Cities
Australia’s foray into facial recognition technology sounds very Chinese and for privacy invasion and freedom is likely invasive. When you introduce facial recognition, how digital identity works in real-time changes forever. So Australia’s government is in late 2019 floating the idea to scan internet users’ faces before they can watch porn online. How creepy is that?
In a biometrics of everything scenario our digital identity takes on attributes of a social credit system. That’s not exactly the most brilliant side of the 4th industrial revolution.
As AI becomes such a hyped technology we see in our ordinary lives, the attraction to integrate it into our daily habits to curfew and protect citizens from consumption in gaming, porn, gambling and other behaviours is understandable but also authoritarian. To cross that line is to become a bit more of a totalitarian state.
Australia becoming a bit more like China in the decades to follow would not be all that surprising. Victoria and Tasmania have already begun to upload driver’s licence details to state databases that will eventually be linked to a future national one. This centralization of our data however is also a cybersecurity risk and privacy issue.
Business Insider reports that Australia’s Department of Home Affairs is floating an idea to use a facial recognition system called “The Capability” to access age verification on porn and gambling sites. Does Australia wish to be capable of surveillance capitalism and what amounts to the first steps into becoming a police state?
Surveillance Capitalism Naturally Leads into Social Credit Architectures
Australia adopting a facial recognition database following in the footsteps of China is clearly only a matter of time. But as more countries follow China’s lead int a social credit like architecture of how citizens are monitored, it begs more questions than answers.
Australia still needs to passes the Identity-matching Services Bill of 2019, which was just rejected by the bipartisan joint intelligence and security committee due to its lack of privacy safeguards. But Australia is a small country and will eventually give in to Chinese intervention since the 2020s is the decade when facial recognition goes mainstream in smart cities.
The internet of things is also in its mature state a surveillance architecture like we’ve never had before in human history. Age verification and digital identity databases are just the beginning. Facial recognition software installed everywhere is too tempting and in spite of resistance, we as global citizens will have no choice to opt-out.
Interestingly the normalization of “AI hype” is part of how this works and how data collection and harvesting takes place. Facial recognition software can tell a lot about us by our gait, emotions on our face and even our levels of attention and our cognitive state. Since China is the leader in this particular type of technology, it’s global implementation will have embedded Chinese ethics and bias.
Australia is too reliant on China as a business partner to turn the other way. With the ominous nickname ‘”The Capability,” the national facial recognition database has previously faced scrutiny. Even AI implemented for beneficial reasons could create inadvertently a social credit system architecture, since AI never forgets.