China has the world’s largest CCTV monitoring system. The whole system comprises of 170 million CCTV cameras in China. There are 400 million more in line to be installed by 2020. This huge number makes it the world’s largest CCTV monitoring system. China is also investing in AI and facial recognition technology to have it installed in their system. Recently, China demonstrated the power of its technology. Chinese officials located and apprehended BBC reporter John Sudworth within seven minutes after his image was “flagged to authorities.”
The arrest was not a real one but merely an exercise to display the power of nation’s CCTV cameras and advance facial recognition technology. Judging from the speed Sudworth was recognized and captured, it is clear that China’s monitoring systems are undoubtedly capable. While China uses its surveillance system to support police investigations and increase overall security, private corporations also utilize this technology to monitor workers. Many people are arguing that this technology can easily be abused by the Government.
Check out the video to see how the reporter was tracked down:
China’s surveillance system is indeed very impressive. However, the threat of it being used in nefarious or unethical ways is also very real. This is especially important because of the use of a reporter in the demonstration. In Turkey, journalists are being tracked down and jailed. Not every Government respects the right of speech and this technology opens up the world of nightmarish possibilities.
If it is not properly regulated, such monitoring system could impact on the information sharing and modern journalism. Currently, reporters are able to travel to and cover stories in most countries without any interference from that government. But if more governments start using the technology to track them down, not only will more journalists be in danger but free speech will also be in danger.
If big brother is watching, who is guiding eyes? This technology, a staple of science fiction tales gone wrong, has the potential to restrict free speech and protect governments who are acting badly. With all of the information, we entrust to our various devices like where we are, what we are buying, what we are searching for, individuals are easier than ever to be tracked down. By using this information to identify, track and capture individuals in a matter of minutes, governments have the leverage to dismantle normal life as we know it.