Watchdog wary of Chinese investments in telecoms, other areas

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A self-proclaimed watchdog warned on Sunday that Chinese investments in the Philippines could be used for espionage. Bencyrus Ellorin, Pinoy Aksyon for Governance and Environment, warned that China’s investments in the Philippines, including in telecommunications, could be used for surveillance and espionage. In recent years, China has focused on artificial intelligence (AI) to strengthen its economy, gain political influence and project global power, gain military advantage especially in emerging technologies and advanced capabilities of cyber warfare and societal governance and control through the use of mass surveillance to impose “normal” behavior on its citizens, he said. “Today you see China supporting its businesses by investing in different parts of the world and using its money to provide multibillion dollar loans, especially to poor countries like the Philippines. It becomes a problem because there are hidden strings that come with these loans, ”said Ellorin. He said Article 7 of China’s 2017 Intelligence Law states that “any organization or citizen shall support, assist and cooperate with state intelligence work in accordance with the law,” adding that the The state “protects” every individual and organization that helps it. Rio Araja Moreover, he added, China’s 2014 Counterintelligence Law states that “when the state security organ investigates and understands the espionage situation and collects relevant evidence, the organizations and individuals concerned must provide them honestly and cannot refuse ”. The advocacy group cited China’s use of technology to implement surveillance of the Uyghur Muslim minority in Xinjiang province, which has become controversial in recent times due to the cotton problem coming from the region. An article in The Atlantic revealed that China has deployed drones to Xinjiang, which is heavily populated by Uyghur Muslims to monitor residents, Ellorin said.

“The area is now under an increased level of surveillance, with authorities collecting DNA samples, fingerprints, iris scans, voice samples and blood groups from residents,” the report reads. press article. According to Ellorin, the Home Office and Local Government launched a surveillance system project called “Safe Philippines” in Metro Manila in 2019 with 12,000 facial recognition technology surveillance cameras. For this, the Philippine government has partnered with Huawei and China International Telecommunication and Construction Corp. and borrowed nearly $ 400 million for the project. “Chinese AI and technology are increasingly being used in other parts of the Philippines, too, to include the country’s huge call center industry and the country’s popular Dito Telecommunity phone service,” said the group citing the article. The group said that China’s telecommunications project in the Philippines and the situation of Ughur Muslims are the same in terms of surveillance. He warned that Chinese companies are bound by Chinese laws beyond its borders, so it is possible that a security threat will be demanded by telecommunications.

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