Friday, December 02, 2005

China's new way of tracking its people

The optimists in the USA, or "Panda huggers" as they are called, think that China will eventually move in a democratic direction, and that the economic growth in China does not constitute a threat to the USA. China could indeed become democratic or it could implode, but it could also become a Fascist state held together by fierce nationalism:

China's new way of tracking its people

China was considering the introduction of a new weapon to curtail dissent: Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags. About the size of a grain of rice, RFID tags are relatively simple devices comprised of an integrated circuit and antenna that transmits information to a receiver called a “reader.” The reader is then processed according to the needs of the host or particular application. Calls by the Chinese government for the rapid acceptance and broad implementationofRFID technology have grown louder recently, based upon several perceived benefits, including increased efficiencies related to supply-chain management; cost savings; and the ability for government agencies to capture, share and save vast amounts of accurate and precise data. But many critics are beginning to question whether Beijing’s sudden interest in RFID technology is driven by a more sinister, underlying “benefit”—the potential to track human beings. Dr. “Rocky” Shih, a Chinese government representative, stated at last year’s RFID World Conference that he expected China would issue more than 1 billion active RFID identification cards—one for each Chinese citizen. Approximately 3 million handheld RFID readers would also be issued by the Chinese government, one for each police officer in the country.


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