New York Times:
Phone scanners, facial-recognition cameras and other technologies are heightening the authorities’ ability to spy on China’s nearly 1.4 billion people, according to police and private databases examined by The Times.
Individually, none of the tracking techniques are beyond the capabilities of other countries, including the U.S. But together, they could propel China’s spying to a new level, making its cameras and software smarter and more sophisticated.
The surveillance networks fulfill a longtime goal of ensuring social stability, but it’s unclear how well the police are using the capabilities, or how effective they are.
Big picture: The surveillance push has empowered the police, who are taking a greater role in China under President Xi Jinping and using fears of unrest to win power and resources. They can track criminals as well as online malcontents, sympathizers of the Hong Kong protests, critics of the police and more. It often targets vulnerable groups, like the Uighurs.
Quotable: “You’re uncomfortable with it,” said one technology worker. “But if you don’t do it, then there’s no possibility of living a life. There’s no way out.”
My view - we have to trust the state (whether China, America or Singapore) to use the surveillance for the right purpose, i.e. to preserve law and order).