China is intending to launch a cell phone tracking system, which will be able to monitor the everyday movements of more than seventeen million of its citizens in a move being slammed by critics as a “Big Brother” style surveillance system.
The Chinese government insists that the cell phone tracking system project, referred to under the name of “Information Platform of Real-time Citizen Movement” will use cell phones, local cell phone stations and satellite tracking technology. This will determine the location and movements of all cell phone users within Beijing, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. They insist it has no sinister connotations but is actually about monitoring traffic levels. However, very few people are buying that explanation.
Chen Derong, a professor of Wireless Communications at the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, has firmly stated that those claiming the new cell phone tracking system is not about keeping an eye on what the city’s citizens are up to, are lying, pure and simply. “We are talking about two completely different concepts,” he alleges. “Mobile phone positioning is a matter of personal privacy. If you want to know about the flow of traffic, you should install filming equipment at junctures.” Many critics believe that the Chinese government has come up with the system because they are being fuelled by paranoia that the revolutions in the Middle East, which have been aided by modern technology such as cell phones, might also happen to them.