China to Expand Security Cameras to Cinemas, Classrooms and Supermarkets



China to Expand Security Cameras to Cinemas, Classrooms and Supermarkets

Beijing shopping centres, cinemas and schools have been told by police they must set up high definition surveillance cameras, calling into question issues of human rights.
Last year around 10 million security cameras were installed in China and this new development is another big step toward a monitored state.
Shanghai is employing 4,000 people to monitor live feeds at all hours of the day, while Chongqing is adding 200,000 cameras to the 310,000 already installed by 2014.
Urumqi has installed 17,000 high-definition cameras built to stand against rioting, due to the racial violence that occurred in 2009. Inner Mongolia aims to have 400,000 cameras installed by 2012.
Electrics consultancy IMS research predicts a growth in security cameras of 20% between 2010 and 2014 in China, compared with a 10% growth elsewhere. IMS estimates the value of the market for cameras is now worth around $1.7 billion as the country spent $680 million in 2010.
Internal security spending now exceeds the country’s military spending with 625 billion yuan spent last year. China’s domestic security chief also has plans for a database covering every Chinese citizen for the benefit of “social management”.
The Asia researcher for Human Rights Watch, Nicholas Bequelin, has said “whereas surveillance cameras are problematic even in democratic societies, there are important counterweights, such as independent courts, privacy statutes, rules about how long the information can be kept and through what legal procedures it can be accessed, as well as independent media and NGO watchdogs.
“None of these safeguards exist in China, raising the very real prospect of an Orwellian society – one in which citizens are monitored in permanence, including in their private life.”
The huge expansion in surveillance does have its benefits, with Shanghai police claiming to have caught 6,000 criminals last year through video recordings.
“If the purpose is for the public security of society, personal rights have to give way to public rights,” said Prof Fu Dingsheng, of the East China University of Political Science and Law. Dingsheng did however concede that more precautions needed to be taken to prevent the systems from being used improperly.

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