China compiling info, creating profiles of Chinese-Canadian MPs using AI tools

A research institute affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party utilized large-scale data analytics and AI tools to create profiles of Canadian politicians.

China compiling info, creating profiles of Chinese-Canadian MPs using AI tools
Remove Ads

An unnamed Chinese Communist Party (CCP) affiliated research institute compiled extensive profiles on Canadian parliamentarians of Chinese descent in 2022, two sources told the Globe and Mail.

The China-based institute, which works in the CCP’s foreign influence operation, utilized large-scale data analytics along with AI tools to create politician profiles in 2022.

Canada has fewer than 10 MPs of Chinese descent in the House of Commons, the Globe and Mail reports.

The research institute supports the United Front Work Department (UFWD) which works for the CCP’s Central Committee. Its responsibilities include gathering intelligence, managing relationships, and seeking to wield influence over key individuals and entities within and beyond mainland China.

Sources told the Globe the operation was first detected by Canada’s secret signals intelligence agency, the Communications Security Establishment (CSE). That information was then shared with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS).

The identity of the two sources is not being revealed to protect them from prosecution.

One source stressed the importance of distinguishing between this CCP intelligence operation and previous disinformation campaigns targeting Conservative foreign affairs critic Michael Cheong, Conservative MP Kenny Chiu, and NDP MP Jenny Kwan in the lead-up to the 2021 election.

Those operations were instead headed by China’s Ministry of State Security.

“The United Front Work Department is the arm and vehicle for the security and ideological apparatus,” former CSIS assistant director Alan Jones said. “The intelligence services gather information on people. If you want to understand somebody, you gather every piece of information that you can about them. You analyze them. You do a profile and it sits there for the day when you think there is an opportunity to do something with that person.”

The CSE refused to comment on the tip but did say that all known information relating to China’s foreign meddling has been shared with the public.

“Canadians can be assured that CSE has provided all relevant documents and information to the commission of inquiry on foreign interference and to relevant oversight bodies such as the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency (NSIRA) and the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (NSICOP),” CSE spokesperson Nayeli Sosa said.

Former CSIS executive Dan Stanton said he believes the information gathered by China could be used to target MPs in the future.

“This type of information is invaluable to foreign intelligence services as a means to building personal profiles, which can later be exploited. Personal interests, weaknesses, friends, family, and professional contacts are good to know for future efforts,” he said.

The problem is not a new one. China’s use of data mining and AI tools has worried the international community for years.

In 2021, a report from the Washington Post revealed how China was using internet data surveillance networks to dig through social media accounts of Western politicians and public figures to equip its government agencies with information on foreign targets.

Remove Ads
Remove Ads

Don't Get Censored

Big Tech is censoring us. Sign up so we can always stay in touch.

Remove Ads