Due to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) breach, some may think that the Chinese Communist Party is simply collecting intelligence on those Americans associated with the U.S. government. They are, and far more than that.
China’s intelligence services are doing far more than creating the Hollywood stereotype portrayal of a manila folder with all of our hard copy biographical information and a paper-clipped black and white photo of us, perhaps in a compromising situation. China is establishing comprehensive electronic folders on everyone in the United States.
This can include web searching history, online purchases in totality, complete medical records, all texts, and all other evidence of our being. One component that starts to go beyond the digital is the DNA structure of our physical body. How do they get that? Perhaps through unlawfully accessing our medical records or maybe through our voluntary biological samples given in the innocent pursuit of our family lineage. Either way, dark and disturbing intentions are in play.
Unconstrained by Legal Guardrails
You may say, “So what? Big deal. Amazon and Google do this already.” Perhaps they do, but what Chinese intelligence is doing for all Americans and for the Chinese and non-Chinese population of the world is establishing a decisive digital dominance to map every single person, including their DNA. This is done on a scale far beyond what Facebook and others in Big Tech aspire to. There are privacy, civil liberty, and legal guardrails in the United States and Europe that constrain even the most adventurist of Mark Zuckerberg’s dreams.
This lack of legal bumper cushions for the CCP, combined with a lack of social mores, feelings, and faith-based values is what sets China apart from even the darkest of Big Tech’s goals and dreams. Although U.S. social media (and the U.S. Intelligence Community) may have set the original framework and tenets of Big Data and Big Data analytics, the Chinese state apparatus has codified, on an exponential scale, how to use the establishment of a digital persona to control and condition the behavior of an individual through simple rewards and penalties.
The public manifestation is the blooming social credit system instituted by the CCP in China. Most human personalities will conform after a few penalties or rewards in such an environment. It’s our innate human nature, but it’s also a slippery slope to more vicious totalitarianism.
A Chinese Digital Silk Road
The key enablers of this digital twin strategy are the vanguards of the CCP’s intentions, through their own social media firms, such as TikTok, and other companies, including DJI (the dominant drone manufacturer) and Huawei.
With Chinese law and operating strategy, all Chinese companies are de facto majority-owned by the state and are required to always do the bidding of the state. These companies are modeled on the front companies that the U.S. Intelligence Community established and used sparingly since the 1950s, but at a far grander scale, and all Chinese companies are part of this ploy. It’s a legal requirement for their existence.
It’s odd, interesting, and amusing that the same CCP system that encouraged the birthing and expansion of these companies is now also showing concern with their growth and influence, as well as their leaders, such as Alibaba founder Jack Ma. The Trump administration aggressively asserted trade control measures toward many Chinese companies, as has the Biden administration with its most recent application of the obscure, but very powerful tool of the Entities List.
I’ve conducted a dialogue with Costco’s front office on the ill-advised corporate decision to carry DJI drones. It has often been open, transparent, and expressed concern, but at the same time, the retailer has still carried DJI products. However, this season, it’s also carrying a non-DJI product—a possible hint of a transition of product types on the shelves and a hat-tip to Costco liability concerns over DJI.
But if one looks very closely, the origin of the new “non-DJI” drone is still Shenzhen, the same city where DJI has its large and unique headquarters. What do drones have to do with feeding our digital persona?
The DJI drones are now flying endpoints on a worldwide network and share hundreds of live or post-flight data elements with servers in China. We’re allowing flying, cyber vacuum cleaners that have the data collection capabilities of modern digital flight recorders on commercial airliners, but these also collect video, audio, and signals intelligence, as well as other sensoring capabilities that are breathtaking.
If you still say “ho-hum, big deal” with this situation, I frankly don’t know what to say. Allowing a foreign power to fly in our airspace with flying intelligence collection vacuum cleaners to map our total environment is a very bad idea. Would China allow us to do this in their airspace? I may be stepping out on a ledge on this one, but the CCP would be unlikely to reciprocate.
To What End?
All of this may be true, but again, so what? I had one very senior intelligence official recently tell me that China’s behavior makes it easier for the Five Eyes Community to steal back all of this information after they collect it. This is one way of looking at the situation and a possible strategy, but not one I would place money on.
With the fusion of DNA information, could China be tailoring follow-on releases of viruses to target non-Han personalities? As a career planner and strategist, this posit is well within the boundaries of the realistic and possible. In the end, nothing good can come out of a ruthless, totalitarian state bent on world domination and the elimination of the United States as the world leader establishing our digital twins. Nothing.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.