Chinese Technology companies such as Huawei, ZTE Corps and Hikvision have been heavily criticized by human rights groups for providing surveillance technology not only for authoritarian regimes but also for espionage activities at the behest of the Chinese Communist Party. The latest victim is the European cities to China's subversive tactics of digital authoritarianism,, reported Voices against Autocracy.
In 2020, the US government had classified 5 Chinese telecom companies as harmful threats to national security.
Around five Chinese telecommunications corporations were flagged by the US government as national security threats in 2020 for espionage. Given China's history of tech spying in Africa through businesses like Huawei and countless others, using improved Chinese technologies could prove to be a costly error for European towns.
Voices against Autocracy's research claims that Huawei's smart city and safe city initiatives are vulnerable to cyberattacks and have inadequate security setups. Using the government's contract to buy security cameras with facial recognition technology in Serbia, Huawei has made important strides within Europe. However, numerous organisations have urged the Serbian government to be transparent about any potential Chinese government acquisition of sensitive biometric data relating to Serbian citizens. The data stated that the 2017 safe city strategic cooperation agreement has resulted in the purchase of at least 8000 cameras.
Additionally, Spain has been on a constant drive of inviting Smart City projects into the country. The local government in Rivas-Vaciamadrid, a city located on the outskirts of Madrid has partnered with Huawei to modernise tech infrastructure meant to aid policing facilities and reduce crime in the city.
Citing media reports, Voices against Autocracy stated that Huawei's telecom kits contain chips that are extremely vulnerable to backdoor tampering, giving governments access to sensitive information they wouldn't otherwise share.
China's surveillance state has encountered rare resistance from its own subjects as there is growing public unease over its security apparatus. There are signs that people are growing wary of the government and public institutions, too, as they see how their own data is being used against them.
Earlier in June, a nationwide outcry erupted over the apparent abuse of COVID-19 tracking technology by local authorities. (ANI)