For support, he has turned to the Mao-era beliefs in the importance of a cult of personality and the role of the Communist Party in everyday life. Technology gives him the power to make it happen. "Reform and opening has already failed, but no one dares to say it," said Chinese historian Zhang Lifan, citing China's four-decade post-Mao policy. "The current system has created severe social and economic segregation. So now the rulers use the taxpayers' money to monitor the taxpayers."
As lawmakers, citizens, and company's debate the use of facial recognition software in the U.S., tech giants in America and China have been busy hawking products to eager surveillance states abroad. Among the burgeoning markets, according to a report by Buzzfeed News, are monarchies in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), particularly in Dubai, where political leaders have often jailed citizens and journalists that they deem to be political dissidents. Critics of the UAE include Human Rights Watch (HRW) who has frequently derided the country for its authoritarian tendencies. Private companies like IBM are looking to governments accused of violating human rights as a market for facial recognition software. 'UAE authorities have launched a sustained assault on freedom of expression and association since 2011,' says HRW in its analysis.
Traffic police in China are to begin using facial-recognition technology to identify jaywalkers and automatically issue them fines by text. Authorities in Shenzhen already publicly name and shame people who flout the southern city's strict road rules, using CCTV cameras equipped with artificial intelligence (AI) that can recognise offenders. Their faces are then displayed on large screens at crossings and on a government website. Now, the company which provides the technology is in talks with mobile phone carriers and social media firms about developing a system that notifies jaywalkers through instant messages when they are caught by the cameras, crossing the road outside of a marked pedestrian crosswalk at an intersection. "Jaywalking has always been an issue in China and can hardly be resolved just by imposing fines or taking photos of the offenders," Wang Jun, director of marketing solutions at Shenzhen-based AI firm Intellifusion, told the South China Morning Post.