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China seems to strengthen the network for surveillance with bird-like drones

File Image of a ‘smartbird’ (Festo)

China is building an increasingly sophisticated police state and the government is the latest addition to the surveillance equipment is fake birds that can spy on people.

Small drones that resemble birds and hide in plain sight are a thing, and the Chinese government is developing its own version in a program allegedly in the name of “Dove”.

According to a report by the South China Morning Post, more than 30 military and government agencies have deployed the bird-like drones in at least five provinces in the past few years.

In contrast to an average drone, these machines are designed to fly by simulating the flight of a small bird — at least in appearance. They look like birds have a wingspan of about 50 cm and can fly with a maximum speed of 40 km/h, according to the report.

On board is a high-definition camera, GPS antenna, flight control system and data link with satellite communications capabilities.

The technology is still at a very early stage of development, and can be hampered by the strong wind, rain or snow, and is prone to electromagnetic interference, but those who are involved in the program have high expectations for the widespread adoption.

Yang Wenqing, a professor in the aviation industry, which is involved in the project told The Post that at the time that the program is still small in size.

“We believe the technology has good potential for large-scale use in the future … it has a number of unique advantages to meet the demand for drones in the military and civilian sectors,” she said.

China is not the only country to experiment with the idea of drones disguised as birds, it is simply following in the footsteps of companies in the US and Europe.

In 2013, a Florida-based company called Prioria Robotics sold more than 30 species of bumblebees in the U.S. Army that are designed to look like birds of prey, but were eventually accused of being no better than a hobby drones.

A Dutch tech company called Clear Flight Solutions to develop a remote-controlled bird called “Robird” that is designed for use in bird control. While back in 2011, a German company developed a “SmartBird” that can fly itself and one of the most realistic looking bird robots, but it was never released to the market.

The Chinese monitoring of birds have reportedly been used most heavily in the region of Xinjiang, a far-west province of China with a large Muslim population, which has long been considered by the Chinese central government, such as a hotbed for separatism.

Police use of heavy surveillance tactics in the region to help government carry out arbitrary detention, allowing the population to spend time on political indoctrination centers in what The Economist recently described it, “a police state like no other”.

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The development of deaf drones is just one of the pieces of tech the Chinese government is trying to implement to monitor the behaviour of its citizens.

The Chinese Communist y is one of a number of governments around the world to embrace facial recognition technology, but is by far the most aggressive. The police now take a walk through the streets wearing “smartglasses” with a facial recognition systems for law enforcement and security officials in China say they hope to use facial recognition technology to identify suspects, and even predict crimes.

The government is still experimenting with mind reading technology in an effort to extend its reach to the “emotional control” of the employees. That experimental program includes hat with built-in sensors, which is spread by means of China’s state-owned companies for the monitoring of the brain waves of their employees.

For years China has attempted to iron-like grip on the internet and the online activity of its citizens. At this time it is the construction of a society where the citizens are given a social credit scores entered by the government of their behavior and can even determine from a citizen in order to qualify for the purchase of a plane or the train, in the bank for a loan or apply for a job.

This kind of monitoring offline as well as online — and the corresponding social ranking system continues to stoke concerns among human rights organisations about the development of a national system for the surveillance of dissent to repress.

 

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