Night time in Beijing

Official government of Beijing in China, that is one of the most populated cities on the planet, will soon begin to track the everyday movements of all 17 million people living there by tracking their mobile phone locations. Government has offered a new program intended to help minimize traffic congestion by furnishing the detailed information on citizens’ movements around the Beijing.

 

The plan, named “Information Platform of Realtime Citizen Movement,” will utilize a person’s mobile phone, local cell phone towers, and GPS tracking module that has become the standard module of almost all of modern smartphones. Every mobile phone will transmit GPS information to servers which will give authorities unprecedented volumes of data on any person’s current whereabouts and their movement trajectory within the Beijing area.

 

Critics of this plan are saying that it is another poorly masked effort of the government to limit personal movements, and also to prevent huge crowds from being formed on the streets. Their opponents are claiming that this data would give law enforcement agencies an accurate map of where big groups of people are gathering allowing government to send urgent reinforcements to public protest locations.

Traffic jams in Beijing

In accordance with Chen Derong, the respectable professor of the Wireless Communications at the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, that mobile phone tracking system isn’t intended to watch traffic. He said that monitoring traffic does not demand tracking movements of separate persons.

 

“We are discussing two absolutely different ideas. Cell phone positioning is the matter of individual privacy. If you wish to know about that stream of traffic, you ought to install video cameras at the crossroads,” he said on this matter. “Why should they ever know anything as individual as my current whereabouts just to prevent traffic jams or some things like that? Traffic stream and location tracking are as unsuitable as if you put the mouth of any horse right on the head of a bull.”

 

Critics are also claiming that this plan to track all movements of Beijing population is an answer to the big protest throughout China that happened in 2011 and was successfully mobilized by means of social media. In accordance with report of The New York Times, that protest was intended to call people to real action by bolstering them to cry out loud, “We wish food, we wish jobs, we wish houses, we wish fairness,” in the jazzy attempt to use the popular dissatisfaction over inflation and real estate prices going higher and higher.

People with mobile phones in Beijing

This occasion, along with progressively increasing domestic turmoil due to the mass protests moving swiftly across the Middle Eastern countries, has led to turmoil amongst Chinese government. The authorities have caught activists, putting more than 80 under house arrest and others have simply gone missing since then.

 

This tracking plan was offered by Beijing Municipal Science and Technology Commission, and officials are avoiding any mentions of utilizing the system as some tool of the crackdown. The official within Municipal Science and Technology Commission, Li Guoguang, says that the program would grant “information of the population dispersion and movements around the city with unbelievable precision.” The program has supposedly been created in co-operation with the China Mobile that is a mobile phone provider owned by the Chinese government.

 

Li has calculated that 70% of Beijing’s citizens carry a mobile phone, giving their government the ability to track all movements of 17 million people with high precision. So if you live in Beijing or planning to visit it and use local cell phone, you might think of keeping your location private. To make it real you can prevent Beijing government tracking your smartphone leaving your location privacy in condition that it must always be.

 

In any way, the cases of government tracking similar to this are continue to happen again and again (like the last one in Egypt), so don’t forget to protect your privacy and leave a comment on this issue.

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