Top Japanese official: China tech success aided by totalitarianism

Top Japanese official: China tech success aided by totalitarianism

A high ranking Japanese government official credited China’s rapid ascent in the technology sector to its totalitarian nature that lets it disregard consumer welfare considerations like privacy.

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“A country like China, a more totalitarian regime, will perform better than the democratic countries,” said Tadashi Maeda, governor of the state-owned Japan Bank for International Cooperation, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“We have a lot of problems gathering big data because of the privacy issue. China doesn’t have such an issue. So obviously they have some advantage,” he continued.

Maeda said the precedent of getting ahead while ignoring citizen privacy issues sets a “dangerous” precedent. He suggested that countries in the west along with Japan should establish common rules for sharing data as a possible solution to not lose ground to China.

Unconstrained by the same concerns for privacy and civil liberties that companies in countries like the U.S. and Japan adhere more closely to, China has been able to rapidly gain ground in the technology market.

Its artificial intelligence technology is on pace to potentially catch up to the U.S. 

China can access vast databases of consumer chat logs to train its A.I. — a move that could spark backlash from consumers in countries like the U.S. and draw scrutiny from privacy-minded lawmakers.

China is also in the process of building one of the world’s most elaborate surveillance systems with its cameras and facial recognition technology.

Because of the considerations, U.S. intelligence has issued warnings about Chinese technology, specifically telecommunications firms such as Huawei and ZTE. They say that with their cozy ties to the Chinese government, these companies can pose a threat to U.S. national security because Chinese authorities could compel them into offering a backdoor into U.S. affairs.