A hot topic in the United States is the issue of technology and privacy. Whether it’s Facebook, location-based check-ins, or sharing GPS information, privacy is a much debated topic.
But something that would hopefully never fly in the U.S. may happen in China, as the government mulls monitoring the movement of 17 million cellphone users in Beijing without their permission
The initiative, called the “Platform for Citizen Movement Information” is supposedly the government’s way of tracking the population to improve public travel and alleviate traffic congestion.
Li Guoguang, deputy director of social development says that real-time cell phone tracking is an efficient way for the government to establish traffic patterns and create a public database of travel data.
Whenever a cell phone is turned on, it will send signals to a base station where the government can monitor the user’s location and direction.
With the data, the government can create a dynamic analysis of congested areas and better cope with the problem.
Li Guoguang added that the government’s future goal is to essentially turn a mobile phone into a personal navigation unit with personalized reports that offer better routes or warns of congested areas.
The scary thing about this initiative is that users don’t have the preference of whether they want to opt into government tracking or not.
There is no word whether the government can tap into the information for other purposes rather than just traffic purposes, for example in a criminal investigation.
(Via The Next Web)