Anorak News | China Adopts the UK’s ID

China Adopts the UK’s ID

by | 12th, August 2007

POOR Gordon Brown. Those identity cards would be great. The UK already has a CCTV camera on every dinner table and in every crate of Bacardi Breezers. But its hard to make the voters agree to be finger-printed, DNA registered and branded bwith barcode. At least the Chinese know what’s good for them:

SHENZHEN, China, Aug. 9 — At least 20,000 police surveillance cameras are being installed along streets here in southern China and will soon be guided by sophisticated computer software from an American-financed company to recognize automatically the faces of police suspects and detect unusual activity.

Starting this month in a port neighborhood and then spreading across Shenzhen, a city of 12.4 million people, residency cards fitted with powerful computer chips programmed by the same company will be issued to most citizens.

Data on the chip will include not just the citizen’s name and address but also work history, educational background, religion, ethnicity, police record, medical insurance status and landlord’s phone number. Even personal reproductive history will be included, for enforcement of China’s controversial “one child” policy. Plans are being studied to add credit histories, subway travel payments and small purchases charged to the card.

Can’t we be more like China?

Some civil rights activists contend that the cameras in China and Britain are a violation of the right of privacy contained in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Large-scale surveillance in China is more threatening than surveillance in Britain, they said when told of Shenzhen’s plans.

“I don’t think they are remotely comparable, and even in Britain it’s quite controversial,” said Dinah PoKempner, the general counsel of Human Rights Watch in New York. China has fewer limits on police power, fewer restrictions on how government agencies use the information they gather and fewer legal protections for those suspected of crime, she noted.

Not for long…

Posted: 12th, August 2007 | In: Reviews Comment | TrackBack | Permalink