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    Big Brother in China

    Rolling Stone has a fantastic article on surveillance in China, “China’s All-Seeing Eye .”

    Over the past two years, some 200,000 surveillance cameras have been installed throughout [Shenzhen]. Many are in public spaces, disguised as lampposts. The closed-circuit TV cameras will soon be connected to a single, nationwide network, an all-seeing system that will be capable of tracking and identifying anyone who comes within its range — a project driven in part by U.S. technology and investment. Over the next three years, Chinese security executives predict they will install as many as 2 million CCTVs in Shenzhen, which would make it the most watched city in the world. (Security-crazy London boasts only half a million surveillance cameras.)

    The security cameras are just one part of a much broader high-tech surveillance and censorship program known in China as “Golden Shield.” […] With political unrest on the rise across China, the government hopes to use the surveillance shield to identify and counteract dissent before it explodes into a mass movement like the one that grabbed the world’s attention at Tiananmen Square.

    In March, the U.S. State Department issued a warning to U.S. travelers headed to China for the Summer Olympics about surveillance in the country.

    All visitors should be aware that they have no reasonable expectation of privacy in public or private locations. All hotel rooms and offices are considered to be subject to on-site or remote technical monitoring at all times. Hotel rooms, residences and offices may be accessed at any time without the occupant’s consent or knowledge.

    The Chinese government responded , claiming the State Department was “irresponsible” in issuing the advisory. “No special security measures will be arranged beyond universally adopted international practice at public venues, hotels and offices in China. Foreign visitors can be assured that privacy in China will be guaranteed according to the law ” (emphasis mine). The Rolling Stone article makes clear that the law in China is especially suited for advancing systems of total surveillance.

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