With the help of U.S. defense contractors, an estimated 2 million closed circuit tv-cameras or CCTVs for short (oh the irony) will be installed over the next three years in Shenzhen. The surveillance experiment is part of the heroically named Golden Shield Project (Patriot Act, anyone?) which also gave birth to another of our favorite censorship models the Great Firewall.
Considering the U.S. of A’s recent track record of “homeland security” measures, it should come as little surprise that a large part of the funding for this system of high-tech control comes from global corporations, “American giants like IBM, Honeywell and General Electric.” And why not? In China, control equals stability equals return on investment. Kaaaa-ching.
According to Naomi Klein of Rolling Stone many of the cameras have already been installed in public places, disguised as lampposts. This begs the question, in this country of frequent energy shortages and government imposed blackouts, will they run power to these hidden cameras while the lampposts remain darkened?
Regardless of whether or not the cameras are actually being monitored (or even turned on), one thing is certain, digital surveillance suppliers are banking in the global anti-terrorism boom.
One Shenzhen-based company, China Security & Surveillance Technology, has developed software to enable the cameras to alert police when an unusual number of people begin to gather at any given location.
Couple that with a few flame throwers, and there you have a “secure state.” If surveillance cameras are not enough to convince you that 1984 is finally upon us, the article goes on to describe “national ID cards with scannable computer chips,” mobile phones tracking who and where you are, and face recognition software that, according to the managing director of the Chinese company producing the technology, will be able to “match a face in a 10 million database in one second.” Software that originated in, you guessed it, the United States.
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