The tech industry has proven itself on more than a few occasions to be an enemy of American privacy. They rarely hesitate to sell your personal information so they can line the pockets of well-paid executives. Alphonso, Inc. is the latest example of this. They stand accused of using their technology to share data with Chinese Government-owned technology company Hisense.
Alphonso is a technology company based out of Silicon Valley, which measures TV data. They were founded in 2013, have several hundred employees, and global offices in Europe and Asia.
Here’s how it works – Alphonso uses real-time, AI technology to gather and measure mass amounts of TV data to learn what programming and advertising you watch on TV. Their technology is embedded in tens of millions of smart TVs and other connected devices.
The company boasts that they’re partnered with hundreds of Fortune 500 brands and agencies in the U.S. It sounds innocent enough until you delve further into their partnerships and data collection techniques. Some of their partners who make smart TVs include Sharp, Hisense, Toshiba, Skyworth, LG, Sling, TiVo, and Seiki. They also partner with over 1,000 mobile apps.
Hisense is an electronics manufacturer that operates under the complete control of the Qingdao, China government. Also troubling, is the connection Alphonso company executive Gary Hsieh has to HiSilicon. Hsieh was a Senior Marketing Manager at HiSilicon for several years before joining Alphonso. HiSilicon is a subsidiary of Huawei.
Huawei was labeled a national security threat by the Trump administration in June of this year. The Trump administration alleged that Huawei collaborates with the Chinese military and Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to provide them with backdoor access to its networks and devices. In December of 2018, the CFO of Huawei, Meng Wanzhou, was arrested in Canada on charges she skirted sanctions by doing business in Iran and faces extradition to the US. The case for extradition is ongoing in Canada.
In President Xi Jinping’s own words, high-end technology is a national weapon in modern times. It’s no surprise that he put into place a law which requires all Chinese businesses to comply with information requests from the CCP, which unquestionably poses a threat to U.S. intelligence.
In 2017, The New York Times exposed how Alphonso aggressively collected people’s personal data, including age and gender, among other things. Alphonso’s mobile app partners can listen to you, even when you’re not using the designated app. All it takes is for you to accept a standard opt-in to activate your device’s microphone, which many people overlook.
Once Alphonso collects your data, they share it with Chinese state-owned Hisense. From there, one can presume at some point Hisense shares it with the Chinese Communist Party at the request of President Xi Jinping. Effectively, a backdoor method has been created to gather data and intelligence on Americans for the benefit of the Chinese government.
It’s alarming how quickly American tech companies are willing to sell out in the name of money. Attorney General Bill Barr is on the record criticizing them for being “all too willing to collaborate with the Chinese Communist Party.”
Recently, President Trump cracked down on ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok. ByteDance is a Chinese state-owned tech company. Trump gave them until September 20th to sell TikTok or have it banned in the United States. The strategy seems clear, and frankly, it’s worked better than U.S. officials would probably like to admit. The Chinese government uses state-owned tech companies which they have complete control of to infiltrate American tech companies and collect your personal data. They also make an overwhelming amount of our cell phones and computers, which is a technological crisis. They study what Americans like and target that. TikTok is a great example. The Chinese government understands social media, and pop culture trends, and use that to their advantage. Frankly, a lot of it is playing to the lowest common denominator.
Americans must be more cognizant of the apps and devices they’re using because of the traitorous big tech industry. They’ll gladly violate your Constitutional rights and scoff at any hypothetical moral obligations, so they can buy a mansion bigger than some working-class neighborhoods and of course, build a wall around it to keep the peasants out that they pretend to care for.
The United States must ban any American tech companies from partnering with Chinese state-owned companies. It’s simply not a risk we can afford to take. Not when we’ve seen what American big tech companies will do when given the opportunity to put America first or sell out our interests. We must become more independent in making our own devices and computers. The overwhelming majority of them come from China. We cannot allow them to own tech because that’s a mistake we would ever recover from.
The Chinese Communist Party isn’t an enemy to overlook. They’re smart, disciplined, persistent and they have a plan. Make no mistake about it, they’re the biggest threat to America today. No, it’s not Russia, or Iran, or Syria, or one of the many countries we occupy – it’s China, and they’re doing things right under our nose.
As we battle the threat of China infiltrating American big tech, we must have elected officials who will hold China accountable and stand for an America first agenda.
Brad Shepard is a contributor to UncoverDC, and an Army National Guard veteran. Brad’s breaking news stories have been credited by Fox Business, The Washington Post, New York Daily News, New York Post, CBS Sports, NBC Sports, Chicago Tribune, Deadspin, Yahoo Sports, Forbes, Golf Digest, Bleacher Report, Sporting News, The Sun, NESN, Breitbart, Zero Hedge, and ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption, among many others. Brad also co-hosts the “Low Blows MMA” podcast, which covers the hard-hitting world of mixed martial arts.