China’s Mass Surveillance

In recent years, surveillance has become an enormous issue in the United States and the rest of the world. Why? Crime is a problem in the world because it is unpredictable. Most countries are conducting mass surveillance in secret. Just nine years ago, Americans realized that the NSA was performing mass surveillance: tapping into cell phones, laptops, etc. However, the United States is not the only country who has been doing this. Cuba, India, Iran, Bahrain, and China have performed mass surveillance in similar ways. However, in recent months, China took surveillance to the next level

Most countries tap into phone calls, texts, and emails. However, China’s “Big Brother” surveillance program is now spending billions of dollars on a facial recognition technology. Having 1.4 billion people in the country, it is hard to catch criminals and drug-dealers. With this new technology, the Chinese government has been able to look into a lot of private information:


  • China has put cameras everywhere around 7 major cities, looking and monitoring, the streets, restaurants, and big events. However, these cameras aren’t ordinary, they have been programmed to look and find people who are suspects, murderers, and thieves. These cameras are then supposed to alert the police so that the criminal is arrested on the spot. This facial recognition technology will help China, by saving a lot of money, time and may reduce crime rates. An experiment, done by BBC, shows that it only took seven minutes for the police to arrest a man while he was under the cameras.
  • They have started spying and looking into group chats. Whatsapp and other big social media companies have been instructed by the government to monitor its citizens and report any unlawful and suspicious behavior to authorities. Unlike, the new facial recognition technology, this practice has been going on for six months.
  • China has also started forcing citizens and civilians to download an app that monitors their videos and photos, looking into content that may be suspicious and dangerous. The app (Jingwang) is able to extract information from the phone, as well as deleting files, looking at the phone model and location.
  • The Chinese government is tracking purchases by looking at credit cards and profiles. The government is able to see a person’s credit card information and their purchases.
  • China’s all new facial recognition glasses has shocked the world. This technology is worn by government officials and police officers to scan huge crowds of up to 10,000 people in 0.1 seconds. The glasses color codes the people based on their criminal background such as robbery, murder, etc. This technology has actually helped police all over the country to find and arrest wanted suspects without spending a lot of time and money.
  • They have installed a police robot in public places like trains, malls, and airports. These robots are also able to locate and match fugitives and criminals. However, they are also able to communicate, monitor and clean the air quality and locate fires that may be in the vicinity.
  • Police now have the freedom of randomly checking the phones of random civilians.


Don’t let China’s new technology fool you to believe that it is going to make the country safer than it ever was. In a way, it is going to improve security but there are also flaws. The facial recognition is not perfect, it could only limit to the number of faces that it can scan. Also, the government said that it cannot use the system 24/7 because of the limitations of the technology. The system can be hacked and it is not as secure that it should be. The smart glasses cannot scan people that run or walk really fast. Only people that stand for a few seconds are able to be scanned.

However, China’s new technology is also one of the strongest and most advanced types of surveillance that is available in any type of government all around of the world. It has been able to stop 600,000 people who were fugitives, suspects, and drug dealers. The new technology scares the criminals into admitting their crimes. The monitoring and the uncertainty of the new technology make the people in the country more obedient.

China has used mass surveillance and spying more liberally than most countries in the world. In the United States, this type of technology would not be used because of our constitution and the foundation of our laws. These laws would be immoral and unethical according to the EU and the UN. That brings us to the question about if this technology is necessary. The devices do have its ups and downs but with terrorist attacks and murder going way over the top, the technology seems to be a necessity in most countries. Do the United States and the rest of the world have to change its laws and participate in these exaggerated practices? Do we need robots in airports and train stations? Do we need the government monitoring us every minute?

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