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when the chinese rebel

Artificial intelligence (AI) cameras at a public security exhibition in Beijing in October 2018. NICOLAS ASFOURI / AFP

BEIJING LETTER

Enough is enough. The announcement of an upcoming facial recognition system in the Beijing subway has taken Lao Dongyan out of his hinges. A law professor at Tsinghua University, the most prestigious in the country, this lawyer, despite the risks for her career, wrote a long article on Chinese social networks at the end of October to say all the bad things she thinks about this decision. .

” It's crazyshe wrote. You need to show your ID card when entering or leaving the university campus, register your ID card when you open an email account, scan your face when you book a hotel room. Go through a security gate to take the metro. And it’s not enough. Now we will have to go even further and use the so-called new technology to continue to increase the level of security. I ask the question: when will it stop? “

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“Without privacy, no freedom”

Before “Solemnly recommend to the standing committee of the political bureau [du Parti communiste chinois (PCC)] , or the country's top leaders, to take up the subject, Lao Dongyan begins by refuting four counter-arguments:

The first: we should rather thank the government, “father figure”, for its protection. Scathing answer: “The people who control our data are not God. They have their own desires and their own weaknesses. Furthermore, we do not know how they will use our personal data or how they will manipulate our lives. “

Second counter argument: if we do nothing wrong, we have nothing to fear. Response from Lao Dongyan: “In a normal society, individuals should have the right to object to the arbitrary access of any organization to their personal biometric data. (…) Without privacy there is no freedom. “

Third counter argument: unimportant people are not affected. Reply : “When you rely on the negligence of others to ensure your personal safety (…) you are not only betting on your luck, but also on the fact that the person who controls your data is an angel. (…) I admire your ostrich policy. “

Fourth counter-argument: all that is useless. Reply : “Even if, in the end, it is useless, it is better than obediently accepting to have chains on your feet. At least we struggled. “

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