Alexandra Ma – China is setting up a vast surveillance system that tracks every single one of its 1.4 billion citizens — from using facial recognition to name and shame jaywalkers, to forcing people to download apps that can access all the photos on their smartphones.
The growth of China’s surveillance technology comes as the state rolls out an enormous “social credit system” that ranks citizens based on their behaviour, and doles out rewards and punishments depending on their scores.
Not much is known so far about how China will monitor its citizens for the social credit system, but some of the technology currently available in China could well be used in the system. Tech companies in China are required to share data with the government upon request.
Scroll down to see all the ways China is already monitoring its citizens.
1. Using facial recognition technology that can pick people out of massive crowds.
At least 16 cities, municipalities, and provinces across China have already started using a facial recognition system that can scan the country’s entire 1.4 billion-strong population — with 99.8% accuracy, Chinese state media reported.
China’s facial recognition surveillance has already proven to be eerily effective: Police in Nanchang, southeastern China, managed to locate and arrest a wanted suspect out of a 60,000-person pop concert earlier this month, the state-run Xinhua news agency said .