Maybe China’s been reading some Orwell?

Toxic children’s toys, dangerous seafood, defective tires, poisonous medicine, incredible amounts of pollution, thousands of shady executions. They’ve killed your pets. They’ve got some weird hybrid of Communism and capitalism and a government rife with corruption. They’re propping up unstable governments in Africa in exchange for their natural resources. And now they’re tracking everything about you. Or, rather, everything about the Chinese in Shenzhen:

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 […] 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.

Woohoo, civil rights! Personal freedom! Personal privacy! Communism!

Here’s to hoping the Justice Department (or P-Safe) doesn’t think this experiment is a good idea.

24 thoughts on “Maybe China’s been reading some Orwell?

  1. Christian Skorik

    Did anyone notice the fact that they’re also installing “at least 20,000 surveillance cameras” that are being “guided by sophisticated computer software from an AMERICAN-FINANCED company”??? Much more than the card issue, this is a real-life big brother, and America is making money off of its existance! Another direct source of US profit from the slow abolishment of human rights around the world.

  2. Christian Skorik

    Did anyone notice the fact that they’re also installing “at least 20,000 surveillance cameras” that are being “guided by sophisticated computer software from an AMERICAN-FINANCED company”??? Much more than the card issue, this is a real-life big brother, and America is making money off of its existance! Another direct source of US profit from the slow abolishment of human rights around the world.

  3. Anonymous

    That RFID tag is a pretty spectacularly stupid application of technology. Whoops! We’ve just made it really easy for anyone with a RFID reader to identify U.S. nationals from 10 meters away! Awww, that probably won’t be abused, let’s include it without putting any safeguards on it.

  4. Anonymous

    That RFID tag is a pretty spectacularly stupid application of technology. Whoops! We’ve just made it really easy for anyone with a RFID reader to identify U.S. nationals from 10 meters away! Awww, that probably won’t be abused, let’s include it without putting any safeguards on it.

  5. Anonymous

    Actually that magnetic strip is bigger than a holographic united states and 40+ presidents combined! Plus a sweet solarized portrait. The US gov’t does keep quite a bit of info on legal immigrants, but it’s not widely made available. You don’t get stopped in the US to have your papers checked. You can bet that they do in Shenzen.

  6. Anonymous

    Actually that magnetic strip is bigger than a holographic united states and 40+ presidents combined! Plus a sweet solarized portrait. The US gov’t does keep quite a bit of info on legal immigrants, but it’s not widely made available. You don’t get stopped in the US to have your papers checked. You can bet that they do in Shenzen.

  7. Anonymous

    I agree with Holly. The US government has this info on you too. As an immigrant, I can tell you the US isn’t shy about keeping tabs on people, or at least they’re not shy about keeping tabs on me and my family. My green card is seriously the scariest piece of technology I have. The magnetic strip on the back is the size of texas.

  8. Anonymous

    I agree with Holly. The US government has this info on you too. As an immigrant, I can tell you the US isn’t shy about keeping tabs on people, or at least they’re not shy about keeping tabs on me and my family. My green card is seriously the scariest piece of technology I have. The magnetic strip on the back is the size of texas.

  9. Anonymous

    Oh, but this is not to say that China’s proposed system is comparable to what’s already around now. I mean, a state-controlled monopoly backed by the threat of force and that you can’t opt out of is a horse of a different colour entirely (red, mostly).

  10. Anonymous

    Oh, but this is not to say that China’s proposed system is comparable to what’s already around now. I mean, a state-controlled monopoly backed by the threat of force and that you can’t opt out of is a horse of a different colour entirely (red, mostly).

  11. J.--

    It’s not like we haven’t volunteered this kind of “private” information to various organizations and stuff. It’s not like we have any private information to keep these days anyway. I’m sure our own such records are kept in some weird places that we never imagined. At least in Shenzhen this information will be neatly presented on your ID card instead of in some shady database.This is no big deal!

  12. J.--

    It’s not like we haven’t volunteered this kind of “private” information to various organizations and stuff. It’s not like we have any private information to keep these days anyway. I’m sure our own such records are kept in some weird places that we never imagined. At least in Shenzhen this information will be neatly presented on your ID card instead of in some shady database.

    This is no big deal!

  13. Alissa

    I mean.. that’s not a huge change. That they’re admitting it, sure, but really information is so tightly controlled there that the government already knew everything about you. Hell, they decided it for you. Where you live, where you work, with whom you work, where you send your kids to school, where you go on your vacations.

  14. Alissa

    I mean.. that’s not a huge change. That they’re admitting it, sure, but really information is so tightly controlled there that the government already knew everything about you. Hell, they decided it for you. Where you live, where you work, with whom you work, where you send your kids to school, where you go on your vacations.

  15. Holly

    I mean. Our IDs have our exact living situation, our meal plan debit balance, our phone number, etc.Which is all tied to our student id number, which any staff member can look up and find our home address, our judicial board record, our grades, our meal plan, our spending habits on campus, our library records…

  16. Holly

    I mean. Our IDs have our exact living situation, our meal plan debit balance, our phone number, etc.

    Which is all tied to our student id number, which any staff member can look up and find our home address, our judicial board record, our grades, our meal plan, our spending habits on campus, our library records…

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