Skynet is the Chinese government’s video surveillance system, which it claims is for tracking criminals. Under the project, more than 20 million cameras have been set up in public spaces across the country.
At least 75 countries are actively using AI for surveillance purposes, according to the AI Global Surveillance (AIGS) Index, a new report published by the think tank Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. And Huawei provides AI surveillance technology to at least 55 of those countries.
Other Chinese companies are also involved, including ZTE and Hikvision. The study found that Chinese-supplied AI surveillance tech is present in 63 countries and that US companies, also active players in the space, supply the tech to 32 countries. This tech includes facial recognition systems, smart policing and smart city projects.
Deployment of AI surveillance seems to be government agnostic. Liberal democracies, including many countries in Europe, were found to be actively using the tech, according to the report. Instead, a country’s use of AI surveillance correlates more with its military spending.