T Nation

Brave New China


The city of Shenzhen has a problem.
It only has 180 000 installed cameras. So the desperate ministry of security concluded to install another 20 000, which of course, will all be linked together in a central hub with face recognition.

Naturally this is still too little to protect the citizens from themselves, so the new ID card will have a chip which stores all the necessary data of the city's nearly 11 million inhabitants.

Which means that the state will know: your name and address, who do you work for, your education, your medical insurance, the landlords telephone number, how many children you've had as well as your record of previous convictions and your general police file.
Those lucky guys will start getting the first ID cards next month!

P.S. While face recognition will probably be ineffective for the next 5-10 years, the system has radio-frequency identification capabilities, so the state can help you in case you get lost on your way to work.


[i]WASHINGTON -- The Department of Homeland Security is funneling millions of dollars to local governments nationwide for purchasing high-tech video camera networks, accelerating the rise of a "surveillance society" in which the sense of freedom that stems from being anonymous in public will be lost, privacy rights advocates warn.

Since 2003, the department has handed out some $23 billion in federal grants to local governments for equipment and training to help combat terrorism. Most of the money paid for emergency drills and upgrades to basic items, from radios to fences. But the department also has doled out millions on surveillance cameras, transforming city streets and parks into places under constant observation.

The department will not say how much of its taxpayer-funded grants have gone to cameras. But a Globe search of local newspapers and congressional press releases shows that a large number of new surveillance systems, costing at least tens and probably hundreds of millions of dollars, are being simultaneously installed around the country as part of homeland security grants.[/i]


Shenzhen is a special case. There is no other city in China like it. It has always been a little weird because it's inhabitants have, for a long time, been wealthier than the rest of the Chinese and they don't want poor Chinese people even seeing that city. Foreigners are watched very closely. Scary place.

It got that way because it was originally the financial capital before Shanghai became so enormous.


We already have red-light cameras all over the place. There is always a camera peeking over your shoulder when you go shopping.

The only thing about installing cameras is that some one has to be watching/recording on the other end for it to be effective.


The cameras are not the only thing. In fact, the cameras are the least danger here. An ID Card which stores so much info and acts as a RFID is not unusual?

"Where is Shen?"
"His ID says he's at home."
"OK, then what about Bao Jhang?"
"He's at some mall. Unit 144289 is active around there. Probably at some gambling parlour. His background says he just loves to gamble. ...Got him! Sir, take a look . Shen's with him."
"Good work. Send two men and arrest Shen for leaving his ID at home for the second time. We're gonna show him..."