China is rightfully considered the country where the rights of Internet users are most often violated. Moreover, the matter is not limited to just the tightening of online control in China itself. According to a report by the American think tank Freedom House, China is now actively exporting electronic surveillance technologies to other countries - in particular to Africa.
The study analyzed the events related to violations of the freedom to use the Internet, which were recorded in the period from June 2017 to May 2018 in 65 countries of the world.
In recent years, China's tech giants have been actively expanding around the world, offering their developments in the field of e-commerce, facial recognition technology and artificial intelligence. Thus, within the Belt & Road project, the development of a "digital Silk Road" is underway, which involves the creation of a fiber-optic network in developing countries.
However, given the close ties between Chinese companies and the government, experts warn that these digital systems could be used to benefit Chinese intelligence agencies and to conduct electronic surveillance in Beijing.
Last year, China shared its experience in Internet censorship and surveillance with electronic media representatives from Morocco, Egypt and Libya. Last November, there was also a two-week seminar on Cyberspace Governance for Country Officials under the Belt & Road Initiative. Representatives of Freedom House argue that "it is not always clear what happens at such seminars, " but usually after such events in the participating countries, cybersecurity laws are adopted, very similar to those in China.
It remains to be surprised at the "indignation" of Freedom House. The interest of the aforementioned countries in the Chinese experience of defending their media space is absolutely understandable: just a few years ago they became victims of the so-called "Arab Spring", a series of "color" revolutions that took place with active US intervention. Using the proven experience of China, they hope to learn how to effectively suppress the virtual influence of the overseas "big brother".