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China Uses Facial Recognition to Fence In Villagers in Far West

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Bloomberg Politics discusses new surveillance technology being tested in China with Jim Harper.

China’s state surveillance apparatus is trying out a new tool in one of its favorite test beds, the restive region of Xinjiang.

The Muslim-dominated villages on China’s western frontier are testing facial-recognition systems that alert authorities when targeted people venture more than 300 meters (1,000 feet) beyond designated “safe areas,” according to a person familiar with the project. The areas comprise individuals’ homes and workplaces, said the person, who requested anonymity to speak to the media without authorization.

“A system like this is obviously well-suited to controlling people,” said Jim Harper, executive vice president of the libertarian-leaning Competitive Enterprise Institute and a founding member of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Data Privacy and Integrity Advisory Committee. “‘Papers, please’ was the symbol of living under tyranny in the past. Now, government officials don’t need to ask.”

Read the full article at Bloomberg Politics.