Just when you thought that the Chinese government's extensive surveillance of the country's citizens couldn't get any creepier or more intrusive, Xi Jingping slyly raises an eyebrow and asks the west to hold his Tsingtao:
From The Epoch Times:
In China’s latest quest to build an all-seeing surveillance state, schools have become part of the state’s monitoring apparatus.
Students at more than 10 schools in Guizhou Province, one of China’s poorest provinces, and the neighboring Guangxi region are now required to wear “intelligent uniforms,” which are embedded with electronic chips that track their movements.
The uniforms allow school officials, teachers, and parents to keep track of the exact times that students leave or enter the school, Lin Zongwu, principal of the No. 11 School of Renhuai in Guizhou Province, told the state-run newspaper Global Times on Dec. 20.
If students skip school without permission, an alarm will be triggered.
If students try to game the system by swapping uniforms, an alarm also will sound, as facial-recognition equipment stationed at the school entrance can match a student’s face with the chip embedded in the uniform.
Each of the "intelligent uniforms" contain two tracking chips which, according to the company that makes them, can withstand temperatures of up to 150 degrees Celsius and at least 500 runs through a washing machine -- so much for accidentally destroying the hardware. In addition to keeping track of the whereabouts of the kids that wear them for every moment of their school day, the uniforms' chip set can also tell when a child is nodding off during the school day and be used to make cashless purchases of school lunches and other educational necessities.
Obviously, not everyone is down with this sort of tech being used in schools or, well, anywhere. According to the Epoch Times, users of Sina Weibo (sort of a Chinese iteration of Twitter) expressed concern that the tech further eroded privacy and tracking people to such an extensive extent could be considered a human rights violation.
The big question here is how long will it be until similar tech is employed in other facets of Chinese society: school campuses offer a small, easily studied group of test subjects in a predictable setting. Once the kinks in the smart uniforms are ironed out, the tracking hardware could be used in factories or, in a far more Orwellian scenario, be forced upon every citizen to use as they go about their lives.