The NYT investigates China’s surveillance-state exports

Ecuador's intelligence agency has access to a vast Chinese-made surveillance system that could be used to spy on the citizens of their country, according to a report from The New York Times . During an unmarked bunker interview in the country belonging to the National Intelligence Secretariat, or Senain, the newspaper says it inadvertently discovered Senain agents monitoring installed video feeds to help the police fight crime. The discovery occurred after a reporter adjusted what he thought was a dimmer switch to reveal a hidden window that had previously been frozen.

The discovery is likely to increase concerns about the use of Chinese-made state surveillance equipment around the world. The ECU-911 system used in Ecuador was manufactured jointly by those supported by the state of China C.E.I.E.C and Huawei, and consists of up to 4,200 cameras, monitored by 16 centers and around 3,000 employees. The system allows the government to track phones, and will soon be able to update itself with facial recognition capabilities, according to The New York Times .

Outside Ecuador, similar systems have been sold to Venzuela, Bolivia and Angola, and NYT reports that up to 18 countries around the world are currently using Chinese-made monitoring systems. China is not the first country to produce this technology, but activists are concerned that it has made these systems much cheaper for other countries to install, use and, ultimately, abuse.

its time. As NYT points out "these cameras are easier to abuse than to use, it only depends on what your goals are".

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