Data hunger Chinese government bigger than expected

The Chinese government’s surveillance system to collect personal data from citizens is many times greater than previously believed. Mobile phone tracking devices are everywhere. This also applies to cameras with facial recognition technology and equipment to collect and process voiceprints from citizens.

This is according to research by The New York Times. The American newspaper examined more than 100,000 documents from the Chinese government for a year. These are from the ChinaFile digital magazine of the non-profit organization Asia Society.

Establishment of a surveillance company

The papers contain information on surveillance technology supply contracts, product requirements and financial budgets. They paint a disconcerting picture of the organization of a mass surveillance society. Chinese law requires such documents to be shared publicly. In reality, they do appear on the internet but are almost impossible to find. In addition, they are often quickly removed without notice, according to The New York Times.

According to the daily, the aim of the Chinese government is crystal clear: it wants to design a system that collects as much personal information about citizens as possible as simply as possible. The government wants to know exactly where citizens are, who they are in contact with and what they do from day to day. Both in business and in their free time. In short, the government wants to establish a totalitarian regime, just as George Orwell described in his novel 1984.

‘Maximum control and mastery’

It is estimated that there are one billion surveillance cameras in circulation worldwide. Half of it is in China.

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