Inside China’s Big Tech Conference, New Ways to Track Citizens

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Inside China’s Big Tech Conference, New Ways to Track Citizens
The event, once a setting for local tech executives
and leaders of impoverished states, this year attracted top American executives like Tim Cook of Apple and Sundar Pichai of Google, as well as executives of Chinese giants like Jack Ma of Alibaba and Pony Ma of Tencent.
The technology enabling a full techno-police state was on hand, giving a glimpse into how new advances in things like artificial intelligence
and facial recognition can be used to track citizens — and how they have become widely accepted here.
Investors and analysts say China’s unabashed fervor for collecting such data, combined with its huge
population, could eventually give its artificial intelligence companies an edge over American ones.
And in a demonstration worthy of both wonder and worry, a Chinese facial recognition
company showed how its technology could quickly identify and describe people.
During the opening speech made by Wang Huning, a member of China’s leading seven-man Politburo Standing Committee, there were more overtures to openness
and cooperation than to the security and censorship that have marked China’s approach to the internet.
Speaking at a panel on terrorism, Mei Jianming, described as a chief expert on antiterrorism for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, an intergovernmental group
that includes China and Russia among other countries, labeled groups that speak out for the human rights of China’s Islamic minority Uighurs as terrorists.

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