As the world becomes increasingly urban and digital, smart cities are emerging as ground-zero for new approaches to development and governance. On Thursday, January 23rd, a diverse group of experts convened as CSIS to distinguish between leading smart city models and discuss how their technologies, including in the areas of public safety and surveillance, are impacting the power of citizens, governments, and corporations.
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While the core focus of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is on traditional infrastructure deployments, it is evident that the Digital Silk Road is a key part of the overall BRI strategy, and China will leverage technology to increase its influence along the route.
Huawei’s “Safe City” products, including facial recognition and surveillance technology, have fueled concerns that China is exporting authoritarianism. A new dataset analyzes Huawei’s growing global footprint, questions the benefits its technology provides, and identifies issues for further research.
Even as Huawei faces resistance in Western airwaves, it is racing ahead under the world’s seas in a commercial contest that could eventually provide China with strategic advantages.
Southeast Asia is home to many of China’s most high-profile Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects, including Kyakpyu port in Myanmar, a high-speed railway in northern Laos, and now-stalled rail and pipeline projects in Malaysia. While these physical infrastructure projects have attracted widespread attention, China’s involvement in the region’s digital infrastructure has been far less examined despite holding the potential to have even greater strategic importance in the coming years.