In 2015, China announced the technological component of the Belt and Road Initiative, known as the Digital Silk Road. Through the Digital Silk Road, Chinese government-linked technology companies have helped to establish government and municipal surveillance systems, some of which include the use of facial recognition technologies. These technology companies have also helped to upgrade telecommunications networks throughout the region. However, Chinese technological aid does not come without costs as the increasing use of Chinese technology could put state security systems and citizens’ data at risk.
The Caspian Policy Center will bring together academic and foreign policy experts to discuss the security implications of foreign surveillance systems in Central Asia. This event is held in conjunction with the release of Caspian Policy Center’s Policy Brief “China’s Growing Influence in Central Asia through Surveillance Systems” that explores the effects of increasing Chinese technological involvement on Central Asian national security and private data. Specific topics will include the use of Chinese surveillance systems, the implication of competing soft power in the sphere of technology, and the challenges faced by Central Asian countries due to foreign technologies. The experts will also discuss regional cooperation and the role the United States can play in the region.
09:00 – 9:05 Welcome remarks – Efgan Nifti, Executive Director, Caspian Policy Center
09:05 – 09:45 Panel discussion and Q&A session
- Akbota Karibayeva, Programs Manager, Caspian Policy Center
- Ambassador (Ret.) Richard Hoagland, Security and Politics Program Chair, Caspian Policy Center
- Nicole Wolkov, Research Intern, Caspian Policy Center
- Brianne Todd, Assistant Professor of Central Asian Studies, Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies, National Defense University
- Nargis Kassenova, Senior Fellow, Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University
09:45 – 09:50 Closing remarks