Decades ago, China began a system of online surveillance and censorship that was nicknamed “the Great Firewall of China.” Now, that firewall is getting stronger, and there is also anÂ increase in broader surveillance of the public, and the surveillance is becoming more focused, so a particular individual could be targeted.
China has long had a vast camera surveillance, or CCTV, system throughout the country and it includes face-recognition technology. In June, theÂ Wall Street JournalÂ reported thatÂ Industry researcherÂ IHS MarkitÂ estimated “China has 176 million surveillance cameras in public and private hands, and it forecasts the nation will install about 450 million new ones by 2020. The U.S., by comparison, has about 50 million.” And the Chinese governmentÂ is using pairing the CCTV surveillance systems with biometric technologyÂ “on streets, in subway stations, at airports and at border crossings in a vast experiment in social engineering. Their goal: to influence behavior and identify lawbreakers.”
The system is powerful.Â BBC NewsÂ recently reportedÂ that, in a test, it took China’s surveillance system seven minutes to locate and apprehend one of its reporters. Notably, China’s CCTV system isn’t the only one to integrate face-recognition technology in order to better target individuals.Â Read more »