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China Enacting a High-Tech Plan to Track People
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of New York Times

New York Times, August 12, 2007
Posted: August 22nd, 2007

At least 20,000 police surveillance cameras are being installed along streets here [in Shenzhen] 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 citizens name and address but also work history, educational background, religion, ethnicity, police record, medical insurance status and landlords phone number. Even personal reproductive history will be included, for enforcement of Chinas controversial one child policy. Plans are being studied to add credit histories, subway travel payments and small purchases charged to the card. Security experts describe Chinas plans as the worlds largest effort to meld cutting-edge computer technology with police work to track the activities of a population. But they say the technology can be used to violate civil rights. We have a very good relationship with U.S. companies like I.B.M., Cisco, H.P., Dell, said Robin Huang, the chief operating officer of China Public Security. All of these U.S. companies work with us to build our system together. The role of American companies in helping Chinese security forces has periodically been controversial in the United States. Executives from Yahoo, Google, Microsoft and Cisco Systems testified in February 2006 at a Congressional hearing called to review whether they had deliberately designed their systems to help the Chinese state muzzle dissidents on the Internet; they denied having done so.

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