Allegation by Australia: China is harvesting data on a global scale


An Australian think tank has warned that a global data mining exercise by a Chinese company in partnership with overseas tech firms and universities could be used by Beijing to shape international discourse, promote its social credit system and support China’s military intelligence.


The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) released a report recently titled `Engineering Global Consent: The Chinese Communist party's Data Driven Power Expansion' said China had established a “massive and global data collection ecosystem” which could be used to reshape global governance. The said report examines the operations and international relationships of Beijing based translation services company Global Tone Communication Technology (GTCOM).


The report claims GTCOM – a subsidiary of the state-owned China Publishing Group, run under the party’s central propaganda department – allowed Beijing access to a technological toolkit – including bulk data collection, artificial intelligence data processing, and facial and voice recognition – to identify and manage state security risks and assist government decision-making. The report claimed they found the company had a cooperative agreement with Chinese firm Haiyun Data, which provides data visualisation platforms for China’s public security bureaus – including in the far western region of Xinjiang, where human rights activists and researchers estimate that 1.5 million Uygur Muslims and other ethnic minorities are detained in mass internment camps.


The report went further to claim that by leveraging state-owned enterprises (SOEs), Chinese technology companies and partnerships with foreign partners – including Western universities, the CCP is building a massive and global data collection ecosystem.


The report also highlighted GTCOM’s relationships with Chinese companies Huawei – which has been blacklisted in the US for perceived national security risks – and Alibaba Cloud, a subsidiary of Alibaba Group, which also owns the South China Morning Post. Ties between Chinese tech companies and a number of Australian universities, amongst them a memorandum of understanding between the University of New South Wales and GTCOM and hi-tech start-up Megvii and the University of Sydney with tech firm SenseTime were cited as examples.


Honestly, for us, it is just another China bashing by the hypocritical west. If China is so technologically advanced, the rest of the world should not be buying any software or hardware from the west because whatever we installed would be penetrated by the Chinese government. The world should be buying from Huawei or other Chinese companies as the the western world has continuously harped and alleged that the Chinese has been spying and stealing from them.

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