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Coming Attractions: Life Inside China’s Total Surveillance State

China has turned the northwestern region of Xinjiang into a vast experiment in domestic surveillance. WSJ investigated what life is like in a place where one’s every move can be monitored with cutting-edge technology.

But it can’t happen here. Right? Right.

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  • Kinch January 9, 2018, 7:51 PM

    Ask Chief Justice John Roberts (Obamacare pretzel contortion).

  • Casey Klahn January 9, 2018, 7:56 PM

    Historically, at least since the 20th century, the armies of 90% plus of the world are pointing their guns at their own populace. In America, at least we have the good sense to not want that bullshit. The posse comitatus act is one help, at least until we decide to forget about it altogether, which is what Obama and the democrat governors taught me is possible.

    When I was in Russia, I watched a squad of 5 uniformed soldiers cruise through town. Show of force. For whom?

    Why the libs make fun of Americans who talk about the 2d Amendment as a bulwark against tyranny. They act like you’re a total idiot.

  • Kinch January 9, 2018, 7:58 PM

    Real time surveillance of Everyone is difficult but doable. Sadly we’ll get there.

    In the mean time:

    Distributed big data drill down on anyone at all who reaches public prominence or becomes a Person of Interest has been a done deal for the past decade or so. Lector, si probationem requiris, circumspice.

  • Casey Klahn January 9, 2018, 8:02 PM

    Look at a map of China, but zoom in so the scale is large, and look at the western border. Almost all of it is dotted lines! F-ING dotted lines. The whole western frontier of China is in flux.

    Looks like a sweet bargaining chip to me. We ought to have China by the shorthairs over all of that BS, and they ought to dance our tune regarding Korea.

    If I, a dumbass layman, know this, I imagine Sec. Tillerson is well aware of it, too.

  • Kinch January 9, 2018, 8:28 PM


    I’d be inclined to sit back and enjoy watching China get more involved in Central Asia. The denizens thereof + Russians + Chinese + Indians + Pakistanis all heartily deserve each other. Better China has a busy backyard. Last thing anyone needs is all her resources focused on the Pacific / Indian Oceans.

  • Casey Klahn January 9, 2018, 9:16 PM

    Kinch, being a good statesman involves using leverage. If China wants to be the hegemon in Central Asia (where human and civil rights are probably even shiiter than they are in China), I’d say either play along and control Kim in Korea, or else we might find lots and lots of interests in shitstan and company.

  • John A. Fleming January 9, 2018, 10:40 PM

    Weird. Why do they even bother with the re-education camps? Just round up the Uighur’s, a few every day and disappear them, and cut them up for parts. The Han won’t care. The one Uighur interviewed even said it himself, “Please, just shoot me.”

    Having read 1984 in fifth grade for the first time, I realized even then that they had created a stable society, there was no way out, no way to effect any change, it would go on this way for a very long time: boot, face, forever. I see that some people in these parts whistle past the graveyard and say that if we deny people their speech, their opportunity to effect peaceful change, change will still come but it won’t be peaceful.

    It would seem the Han have perfected ZhōngSoc. It looks like peace and harmony, because anyone who dissents is swiftly dealt with. Ask James Damore about Goolag.

  • bob sykes January 10, 2018, 4:36 AM

    Domestic surveillance is the main reason for super computers. China has more than we do, and they have the two or three fastest ones. Right now, both countries are implementing AI for communications monitoring, but facial recognition is possible, too. The main problem is installing the cameras. It is said that in London everyone is photographed and recorded at least 30 times per day. That’s equivalent to a full-time police tail.

  • John Venlet January 10, 2018, 5:53 AM

    Couldn’t happen in USA? It’s already happening here in the good ol’ USA, voluntarily. Individuals sign up to be surveilled, what with Alexas and those type of contraptions flying off store shelves and into individuals’ homes, facial recognition phones becoming the “thing” to have, with automatic “location” services already activated and tracking, etc. And do not fool yourselves that the corporations hawking these things are going to keep your information private. All these technological “marvels,” can be handy, indeed, but in actuality they are tools of voluntary enslavement.

  • John Venlet January 10, 2018, 6:03 AM

    Couldn’t happen here in the USA? It’s already happening here in the good ol’ USA, voluntarily. What with Alexa type contraptions flying off the shelves and into individuals’ homes, always listening, facial recognition phones becoming the “thing” to have, location services in cell phones long accepted as benign, etc. And don’t fool yourselves into thinking that the corporations marketing these contraptions are going to keep your info private and out of the state’s hands, that you will not be surveilled. Voluntary enslavement in a gadget.

  • ghostsniper January 10, 2018, 6:36 AM

    “But it can’t happen here. Right? Right.”

    Been happening for a long time.
    Avoid crowds, reduce your profile.

  • John Venlet January 10, 2018, 7:00 AM

    As Ghostsniper notes, it’s been happening here for a long time, and in large part it’s voluntary.

  • Old Surfer January 10, 2018, 7:16 AM

    Re most of the guns pointed in- read

    Democide hasn’t happened on a large scale here yet, but with all the heavily armed government agencies it may be just a matter of time.

  • ghostsniper January 10, 2018, 12:41 PM

    Don’t underestimate those that are 1 step away from you and their ignorance. While you may be knowledgeable in what’s going on they may not. Maybe you don’t do social media but they do and some of your inside info inadvertently gets into the system. Maybe your daughter comes by to show you the new Alexa she bought and it pairs with all of your devices that you spent time in keeping out of the system. Now all of your stuff is out there and you may not even be aware of it. Remember, in this time of heightened insanity an accusation is the same as a conviction. Even if you didn’t do it you’ll suffered dearly.

    What does this mean?
    Your “sphere” is larger than you might imagine and invisible things are going on that you don’t know about. Your new cellphone may make a criminal out of you and you won’t realize it til your door is kicked in at 3 am and your dog is killed. Got a gurly pik on your machine? How do you know she’s over 18? Looks? Please….it’s been “…shopped”. This ain’t 1995.

    Is there a solution?
    In the bigger picture probably not, you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube. But in the smaller picture you still have control but the question is do you have the will and the stones? And even if you have Rushmore boulders you can still become victimized cause that’s the sort of thing that happens before the collapse. Strive in all ways to put the odds in your favor.

  • Gordon January 10, 2018, 3:55 PM

    Here in Minneapolis, the police won’t even come for shoplifters unless you have them in formal custody, and even then they don’t want to take them to jail. The shoplifters know this. Minnesota courts have said that unless you have a pair of eyes on the person every minute, they’re going to let the thief walk. As a result, now the stores will “Trespass” someone; they are issued a letter banning them from the store.

    This is where the video surveillance might work. The thief comes in the door, an alarm goes off, and they are escorted right back out.

  • Casey Klahn January 10, 2018, 4:43 PM

    Front page news today is FISA renewal. That’s rich. After all of the news we’ve seen of government overreach in surveillance. Obama was one of the worst.

    I have a lifelong case of the ass against the FBI, now that it’s become evident that they planned to overthrow the government (which is essentially what keeping Trump out was all about). I also observed how, when Petraeus was at CIA, everything ran as smooth as custard, and so Obama raped him sideways for being too good at his job. Wrong security clearance on his day planner?

    Ghost has never been more right: we are all in violation of a thousand laws at once, and all it takes is being on the wrong side of the sidewalk (which, incidentally, is the Right side). I saw a you tube last night where a teacher gets arrested for questioning the school board supe over pay raises. The crowd follows her and the cop outside, iPhones recording whole thing. No doubt the cop was doing his job right, but once the genie is out of the bottle…

    How do cops even sleep at night these days? The huge majority want to do the right thing, but pencil-necked bureaucrats hold the reigns. I’d just once like to see a you tube where the senior cop flips it back on the city councilman, the governor, the mayor, or the superintendent.

    So glad I live in a rural county.

  • Ed January 11, 2018, 2:01 AM

    Casey, from your opening comment in this thread: “The posse comitatus act is one help, at least until we decide to forget about it altogether, which is what Obama and the democrat governors taught me is possible.”

    I fear the Posse Comitatus provisions have pretty well quietly been gutted. It started under GWB in about 2006, and continued under Obama.

    I won’t get into details, and my own research is now about five years out of date. I urge you to do your own checking into Section 333 of title 10, United States Code, as amended.

    What has bothered me most is that a “rogue” president seemingly has the power to mobilize federal assets, including military, to intervene in a state when he determines the rights of a “class of citizens” are being abused, as those “rights” are at that time outlined in Federal law, and in his opinion the state authorities are not protecting those folks. It took no great stretch to imagine Obama and his Justice Departments under Eric Holder and Lowrenta Lynch, invoking these authorities if the opportunity appealed to them.

    National Defense Authorization Acts, from 2007 going forward and the amendments to the Insurrection Act are some of the enabling legislation I was looking at back then (2013). The law seemed to be in a state of flux even as I was trying to pin things down for my own satisfaction. I will be happy to be proven wrong.

    We are blessed to have survived Obama and to have avoided Hillary Clinton. The house cleaning has only begun.

  • Casey Klahn January 11, 2018, 6:59 AM

    Gerard’s timing is well aimed. This story @ the surveillance state mentality, and now the James O’keefe headline on Drudge, where Twitter has been suppressing and shadow banning your content. Twitter is shit, just like CNN was shit for it’s whole election coverage.

    Speech in America. Where I grew up, people were mouthy and always broadcasting an opinion of one form or another. God, I miss those days.

    Listen to this one, by eminent liberal John Cleese, and see if there is any hope left for the western world. He gets it correct, because he’s a lib, but not an asshat all of the time. He sees what’s up. https://youtu.be/QAK0KXEpF8U