Freedom House analysts have concluded that about 3 billion people – 89% of Internet users – are under some form of surveillance. Governments are using increasingly sophisticated technologies to monitor the behavior of their citizens on social media platforms. According to the report, the surveillance market has grown, providing intelligence and law enforcement agencies with new tools for analyzing huge amounts of information. At least 40 of the 65 countries that were analyzed in this report have implemented advanced social media monitoring programs.
China is a leader in the development, use, and export of social media surveillance tools. For example, the Chinese firm Semptian introduced its Aegis video surveillance system, which provides a “complete overview of the virtual world” with the ability to “store and analyze unlimited data”. The company claims that it monitors more than 200 million people in China, which is a quarter of the country’s Internet users.
Freedom House says that thanks to the development of tools that use artificial intelligence, governments now have more opportunities for cyberespionage than ever before.