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China To Photograph All Internet Cafe Customers 223

Posted by kdawson
from the papers-please-and-smile dept.
Gwaihir the Windlord writes "Not only is the Great Firewall of China back up and running, but now if you visit an Internet cafe, your photo will be taken and your identity card scanned. And the friendly officers of the Cultural Law Enforcement Taskforce make those details, entered into a city-wide database, available at any other cafe. So much for the new levels of openness and transparency that the Olympics were supposed to usher in."
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China To Photograph All Internet Cafe Customers

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  • by b96miata (620163) on Friday October 17, 2008 @09:24AM (#25411361)

    Your personal details *are* being made quite transparent and open here.

  • by v1 (525388) on Friday October 17, 2008 @09:25AM (#25411385) Homepage Journal

    > So much for the new levels of openness and transparency that the Olympics were supposed to usher in.

    Oh you thought "openness and transparency" was for the government? no no, they meant for the citizens

    • by JasterBobaMereel (1102861) on Friday October 17, 2008 @10:02AM (#25411823)

      They are being open and transparent about it ... they are telling you before they take your photograph and scan your ID card ...

      • I'd love to see them scan my ID card without telling me...
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by try_anything (880404)

        That's no joke. US intelligence agencies don't bother asking for permission; they just do whatever is technologically and economically feasible without our cooperation. I'm scared about what they might be doing right now. It's not because I'm paranoid; I think there are plenty of people in the intelligence agencies who would leak information about surveillance programs -- IF they thought they were acting contrary to the values of typical Americans.

        Unfortunately, our cowardly response to 9/11, following t

        • Unfortunately, our cowardly response to 9/11, following the paranoid and anxious example set by our leaders(*), has surely made it easy for those in the intelligence agencies to believe that Americans, deep down, really don't believe in our national rhetoric of liberty, and we really want to be taken care of by a strong national security apparatus acting outside of law and morality. In other words, we want the government to act like a loving, protective parent, in whom the safety of its children overrides a
    • Well, this is a new level of openness and transparency. Never has internet activity been so open and transparent.
  • by Improv (2467)

    Openness and privacy have not always been the easiest values to reconcile. This post completely dropped the ball :)

    • Re:Hehe (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Potor (658520) <farker1@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Friday October 17, 2008 @09:48AM (#25411679) Journal

      In all deference to your low UID: First, the post refers to openness and transparency, not privacy.

      Second, privacy for citizens, openness for the state. Those two go hand in hand, really. In essence, this means no more than the fewest possible laws.

      /you may say i'm a dreamer ...

  • Heh...this from the Australians who recently designed software to track file transmissions over the internet [slashdot.org] in the US, and are having problems of their own with censorship [slashdot.org].
    • *that's ironic _source_*
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by argiedot (1035754)

      More power to you, Eagleman, the hypocrisy of these nations is quite clearly apparent. Also while everyone seems to think this is a horrible thing, how about you look at India? We've reached this level and passed it. Allow me to explain:

      • In Mumbai, if you want to access a cyber-cafe, you will need a photocopy of your driver's licence or other photo-ID. You will also be required to sign over the photocopy. You will not be allowed to use the place otherwise, even if you show photo-ID. They require a copy.
      • In
  • by snspdaarf (1314399) on Friday October 17, 2008 @09:27AM (#25411415)
    ...your license and registration please. Your other license and registration.
  • by alexhs (877055) on Friday October 17, 2008 @09:28AM (#25411433) Homepage Journal

    Couldn't they stop to give ideas to the Britons ?

    • by MindKata (957167)
      Our UK government probably told them its a good idea. ;) ... (That way, the UK can then bring them in, as everyone else is doing it).
  • Industrial espionage (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Smivs (1197859) <smivs@smivsonline.co.uk> on Friday October 17, 2008 @09:30AM (#25411457) Homepage Journal

    It seems odd that other cafes are given this information. Is this so that cafe owners can track down lost customers, or find out who does the best Mocha? And the punters are leaving themselves open to all sorts of abuses. What do find in chinese cafes? China Mugs!

  • Opening (Score:5, Funny)

    by symes (835608) on Friday October 17, 2008 @09:32AM (#25411477) Journal
    I sense an opening in the market for false moustaches in China!
    • Of course, even if an American company is first to capitalize on it, you know what the original country of manufacture will be for those things, right?
  • Seems to me (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bai jie (653604) on Friday October 17, 2008 @09:38AM (#25411555)
    Seems to me that the Chinese Government is being very open about the amount of surveillance they are using on their citizens.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 17, 2008 @09:39AM (#25411577)

    If you walk into an internet cafe in the UK you've likely been recorded by 10 different cameras on the street on the way in, and the goverment is now promising to log all your online activity in a central database.

    This loss of privacy certainly sucks, but we can no longer smugly denounce the Chinese for it as if we in the west are any more respectful of privacy or any less big-brother-like. "China's internet privacy protection falls to UK level" would be just as apt a headline.

    Even China's Tianamen Square atrocity has a western parallel with the USA's killing of Vietnam war protesters at Kent State University in 1970.

    It would be nice if we were in a position to righteously denounce the Chinese for human rights violations, but sadly we're really not.

    • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Friday October 17, 2008 @09:58AM (#25411781)
      Yes but remember, the west is doing it in the name of "protecting freedom and fighting terror," whereas the Chinese are doing it in the name of suppressing their citizens.

      Governments have a long history of portraying their actions as justified, but those same actions by other governments as being evil.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Yes but remember, the west is doing it in the name of "protecting freedom and fighting terror," whereas the Chinese are doing it in the name of suppressing their citizens.

        The Chinese government promotes it as part of a policy called "Harmonious Society" [wikipedia.org], the idea I suppose being that no one should rock the boat. If you're cynical you might say that this means no one should overthrow incumbent leaders or power structures.

        Rich.

      • And don't forget (Score:3, Insightful)

        by stabiesoft (733417)

        we do it "for the children" in the US!

      • Governments have a long history of portraying their actions as justified, but those same actions by other governments as being evil.

        Oh, "government". I thought you said "Google". I guess I was paying more attention to the context than the spelling.

    • by MightyYar (622222) on Friday October 17, 2008 @10:01AM (#25411809)

      Even China's Tianamen Square atrocity has a western parallel with the USA's killing of Vietnam war protesters at Kent State University in 1970.

      You don't see the difference between a protest getting out of hand and the siege of a city by an army? You know that the day after the Kent State shootings, 8 million college kids protested? How many people protested the day after Tienanmen Square? You know that Kent State was in no way a peaceful protest, but a full-on riot? Fires, property damage, people attacking fire fighters and later the national guard. Contrast this with people peacefully assembled in a square.

      • by base3 (539820) on Friday October 17, 2008 @10:13AM (#25411987)
        Yes, Kent State was a full-on riot (though how much of that was false flag we'll never know). But the students shot weren't all even INVOLVED in the protest, and even if they had been, .30 rounds are never an appropriate response to unarmed students. Those national guard soldiers along with those in command should have faced firing squads.
        • by MightyYar (622222) on Friday October 17, 2008 @10:27AM (#25412207)

          I agree that the response was way out of proportion, and the guard were out of line. The students were also out of line, however - which is the key point I was trying to make.

          In Beijing, there was no violence at all until the troops rolled in. The protest was brutally suppressed using troops from the countryside. The citizens of the city tried to blockade and were mowed down. The next day, all was quiet in China as the leadership made it very clear that even peaceful protest would be met with deadly violence.

          In contrast, after Kent State, millions of college students across the US protested with no significant interference from the government.

          Kent State was a criminally bungled response to a riot, whereas Tienanmen was a premeditated government response to a peaceful protest. The violence was part of the plan.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by br00tus (528477)

            In contrast, after Kent State, millions of college students across the US protested with no significant interference from the government.

            Except those two students at Jackson State that were killed. Or the hundreds of students who were beaten, injured and hospitalized. Other than that, no significant interference from the government.

            • by MightyYar (622222)

              Approximately 8 million people protest all over the US in 1970, you pick out two killed by overexcited local police and say that is comparable to what happened in Tienanmen?

              Right...

        • by NotBornYesterday (1093817) * on Friday October 17, 2008 @10:49AM (#25412447) Journal
          Honestly, how the hell can you compare the two? Four people died at Kent State. Estimates of the dead at Tiananmen ranged into the thousands, but we'll never know due to a Chinese government coverup.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by br00tus (528477)

        You don't see the difference between a protest getting out of hand and the siege of a city by an army?

        You mean like when the Marines and Army marched into Los Angeles in 1992? But of course it wasn't like they were protesting government injustice and brutality in LA in 1992, right?

        You know that the day after the Kent State shootings, 8 million college kids protested? How many people protested the day after Tienanmen Square?

        Yes, students protested at Jackson State and elsewhere - 2 of the Jackson state s

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by neurovish (315867)

          Are you just trolling?
          The Kent state shootings happened in a tense and chaotic moment by the national guard. Tiananman Square was an organized response by the Red Army.

          • by br00tus (528477)
            What about the army's organized response in Los Angeles in 1992?
            What about the army's organized response into Detroit in 1967?

            I can't even count how many times the US army has marched against its own poor, working poor and working class citizens through its history. Starting with George Washington marching what would become the US army to Pennsylvania to put down the Whiskey Rebellion right up until 1992.

            • by MightyYar (622222)

              You're right - we should just let those riots burn themselves out.

              C'mon... you are completely missing the point. If you want to peaceably assemble a million people in the National Mall to call for the overthrow of GW Bush, you can do it. How many peace rallies were there in DC during Vietnam? Try that in China and you get rolled over by a tank. Not "4 People Dead" when a National Guard soldier looses his cool during riot control duty.

        • by MightyYar (622222)

          You mean like when the Marines and Army marched into Los Angeles in 1992? But of course it wasn't like they were protesting government injustice and brutality in LA in 1992, right?

          I seem to remember something Slighty different about LA... what was it? Oh yeah! IT WAS A RIOT, NOT A PROTEST AND NO ONE WAS SHOT BY THE ARMY.

          Yes, students protested at Jackson State and elsewhere - 2 of the Jackson state students shot dead.

          Shot by local cops as the cops were having things thrown at them. Not the US army, not a peaceful demonstration.

          Your contrasts are laughable.

          I'm not defending the US shootings, why do you approach me as if I were? I'm saying that a botched riot control is not the same thing as a coordinated armed restriction of free speech with absolutely no regard for the lives of the protesters.

          Beijing was a land of all pacifistic, docile protesters for democracy, while Kent State (and presumably LA) were all rioters who deserved to be killed.

          I said no such t

      • by Trailer Trash (60756) on Friday October 17, 2008 @11:01AM (#25412601) Homepage

        Try googling "Kent State" from your computer here in the US. Now, try googling "Tianamen Square" from China.

        Any differences?

        • by Zerth (26112)

          Yes. But only until the government gets a "Save The Children" or "Track The Terrorists" law past the supreme court.

          Then I imagine I'll get the exact same response: 0* records found.

          *And the cops are on the way.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      The difference (a small one but...) is that the 10 different cameras in the UK are on 10 different systems and are not linked to a central database (yet) and the Police need a warrant to get the tapes, and the pictures are not linked to you (through an ID)

      In the US try walking into any store and you are likely to be on Camera, the only difference in the UK is that you are probably on Camera on the street outside as well ...

      In a Cybercafe in the UK all they could prove is that someone with their face obscure

    • by thermian (1267986) on Friday October 17, 2008 @10:13AM (#25411983)

      Even China's Tianamen Square atrocity has a western parallel with the USA's killing of Vietnam war protesters at Kent State University in 1970.

      Wrong, there has been, and continues to be, absolutely no attempt by the US government to disallow access to websites that mention the Kent State University incident.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by br00tus (528477)
        Philip Agee was a CIA case officer whose conscience troubled him so much with regards to his involvement in supporting dictatorships in Latin America and putting down popular worker movements, that he exposed what the CIA up to. The CIA did everything it could to try to prevent publication. In 1979, his passport was revoked. In 1982 Congress passed a law in an attempt to prosecute him ( a law which tripped up Scooter Libby in the Bush administration incidentally - but Bush commuted his prison sentence -
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          The fact we can search Philip Agee, know about what happened, and can freely talk about the incident without fear of retribution is a pretty clear example of the differences between the US and China.

      • by kabocox (199019)

        Even China's Tianamen Square atrocity has a western parallel with the USA's killing of Vietnam war protesters at Kent State University in 1970.
        Wrong, there has been, and continues to be, absolutely no attempt by the US government to disallow access to websites that mention the Kent State University incident.

        This is what some of the Chinese leadership needs to learn... The average person in the US was like... Kent state... WTH happened in Kent state? I never knew of it until this slashdot thread. Now on the

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by elnyka (803306)
      Your position is fucking retarded
      1. The fact that the UK government records you whenever you go to a e-cafe does not constitute a high probability that something awful is going to happen to you. This is not the case in China. You can say publicly "screw the Queen" and sleep well at home. You say "screw the CP" and guess what's going to happen?
      2. The fact that Tianamen Square MIGHT be seeing as parallel to the Kent State U' killings, that does not make them so. Kent State's was (and still is) an isolated incident
    • We didn't use tanks. I'm not sure if that's supposed to be funny or not.
      • by br00tus (528477)
        Um, three years after Tiananmen Square, the US army rolled Abrams tanks into Los Angeles, because people there were protesting government injustice.

        Of course, the Chinese students were all docile angels who just wanted democracy from their tyrannical government, and the people in LA's poor communities are just dirty rioters against the already perfect US government of freedom and liberty. So its obviously completely different.

    • Even China's Tianamen Square atrocity has a western parallel with the USA's killing of Vietnam war protesters at Kent State University in 1970.

      Yeah, if we equate the shooting of 13 students (four killed, nine wounded, 67 shots fired) by National Guardmen with the killing of 2000-3000 students (killed and wounded, using tanks and infantry) by the Chinese People's Army (their equivalent of the US Army, not the National Guard).

  • So much for the new levels of openness and transparency that the Olympics were supposed to usher in.

    While I was hopeful in the early days of the olympics, four years ago, I got a reality check later on when it became obvious that the Chinese government was determined that this was going to be a very tightly controlled operation.

    This isn't really a surprise, the Moscow olympics didn't end the cold war, and the Munich olympics didn't stop WWII.

    China visibly and provably improving its human rights and freedoms should have been a prerequisite of being given the olympics, not just a half-hearted, vague promise (with fingers crossed) to sort of improve, without actually changing things. Expecting China to follow through once it had secured the event was foolish in hindsight. By that point the IOC had no sanction, they were never going to take it away, China knew that, so they could do what they liked.

  • that I could be confident that this sort of practice would remain in China.
  • by itsme1234 (199680) on Friday October 17, 2008 @09:45AM (#25411639)

    Quoting from http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/12/11/0512216&tid=158 [slashdot.org]

    "CNN is reporting that a new Italian law requires that all businesses offering public internet access, such as web cafes, to identify and record all customers. While supporters of this law trumpet its anti-terrorism potential, still others see no such advantage and bemoan this invasion of personal privacy. 'They must be able, if necessary, to track the sites visited by their clients. [...]"

    And yes, the law is pretty much alive and well. Also you can't stay anywhere in Italy unless they copy your passport and send it to the police. Free wifi providers (think Starbucks like) have been already fined/prosecuted. You can't get a prepaid SIM card in many European countries without showing your passport and in some cases your "registration" (i.e. the fact that you're a local resident with a "registered address").

    • by IorDMUX (870522)
      That's odd; do you know when that law was supposed to go into effect? I see the article is dated 2005, but I spent 1.5 weeks in Italy in the summer of 2006 and never ran into any of those issues. Internet Cafes only required a signature on a timer sheet so they'd know how long I spent at their computers; nobody ever asked for my ID. Also, the only time I was ever required to show my passport was at the airports--hotels were perfectly fine seeing a credit card, instead.

      Maybe I just got lucky, but I sta
  • Openess (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jaysyn (203771) <jaysyn+slashdot@@@gmail...com> on Friday October 17, 2008 @09:50AM (#25411687) Homepage Journal

    "So much for the new levels of openness and transparency that the Olympics were supposed to usher in"

    Who sold you that lie?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 17, 2008 @10:00AM (#25411797)

    In the grand scheme of things the democratically elected governments of the world are also cracking down hard on what their citizens view, write, and if at all possible, think.

    The issue is China is the same as the issue in the West. As long as the general population believes that the government is doing what keeps the populace safe and organized then an oppressive government will not only stand, but it will grow in power. It doesn't matter if it's a complete illusion, because perception is reality in these cases.

    What China seems to need, and perhaps what certain democratic countries need as well, is a peaceful uprising/organized demand for change. It worked (for a while at least) in Russia, and continues to be the catalyst for permanent changes in some of the old Soviet Bloc countries.

  • How many people (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bugeaterr (836984) on Friday October 17, 2008 @10:01AM (#25411811)

    How many people casually compare the Patriot Act to Nazi-facism on their way to buy a cart full of Chinese products at Target?

  • Uh oh (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I better take off my Free Tibet button first.
  • Lets Summarize (Score:4, Insightful)

    by florescent_beige (608235) on Friday October 17, 2008 @10:06AM (#25411909) Journal

    China intentionally hides the news that poisoned milk is in their distribution system to avoid any sad faces during the Olympics (R)(tm).

    Thousands of children are intentionally allowed to get sick and some die while their cute little Olympic (R)(tm) mascots dance around all happy happy.

    Now they hilariously submit that identity checks are justified "for the sake of children."

    More lies from the big red Chinese lie machine.

    • China intentionally hides the news that poisoned milk is in their distribution system to avoid any sad faces during the Olympics (R)(tm).

      Thousands of children are intentionally allowed to get sick and some die while their cute little Olympic (R)(tm) mascots dance around all happy happy.

      Now they hilariously submit that identity checks are justified "for the sake of children."

      More lies from the big pick-a-colour government lie machine.

      There, fixed that for you.

  • Same in Europe (Score:2, Interesting)

    by benwiggy (1262536)
    Go to an internet cafe in Italy, and you will be asked for your identity card or passport, which will be recorded.
    This is, you'll be relieved to hear, to combat terrorism.
  • We are talking about CHINA. This sort of thing is legal as you have no "rights" there.

  • by kalirion (728907) on Friday October 17, 2008 @10:41AM (#25412367)

    U.K. will follow in 3...2...1...

    And here in the U.S., we won't see for this kind of thing at least for another 3-6 months (3 if McCain is elected, 6 if Obama).

  • I hope people in China don't get their hands on wireless internet gear. It would screw this plan up and that would be a shame.

  • Thats just a silly stereotype. When I lived in China some decades ago it took about three days for the "sameness" to disappear from my perception. It was a lot harder for buildings however. They do really look the same.
  • I was at Marco Polo Airport (Venice, Italy) two weeks ago for the first time in a couple of years. While waiting for my flight out of the country, I noticed an internet kiosk near my boarding gate. I was shocked to find out that to 'unlock' the kiosk, I had to let it photograph my passport before usage. The first five minutes was free but it still insisted that I needed to slide my passport bio page into a slot before it would allow me to surf the internet.

    Needless to say, I killed the time by having a ni
  • so much for the new levels of openness and transparency that the Olympics were supposed to usher in

    What? Who said that the Olympics were going to usher in new levels of openness and transparency? First I've heard of it. Last time I checked, the Olympics were intended to be a symbol of the end of China's isolation from world affairs, and a bit of bragging about what could be achieved by a Communist (in name only) dictatorship after a period of market reforms.

  • by Smivs (1197859)

    Mr Wong the restauranteur had returned from holiday unaware that his trash bin had been taken. One of the refuse guys knocked on the door one morning.
    "Where's yer bin?"
    "I bin to Hong Kong".
    "No, where's yer wheeley bin"
    "I weally bin to Hong Kong!"

  • by hackingbear (988354) on Friday October 17, 2008 @12:58PM (#25414511)

    While we should damn China's censorship, we should definitely first stop /. from censoring contents it does not like. I have a track records of successful story submissions [slashdot.org]. Many of my submissions are related to China -- both POSITIVE and NEGATIVE. However, it couldn't help me to notice that SLAHSDOT would always put on hold and eventually reject any story that deems put a positive light on China's political and online freedom, even if the cited source is a rather conservative ones like The Economist. See my latest hanging submission (here is the original article [economist.com]) for example. The only "positive" stories the /. editor will post are those purely about technology -- like about their space development.

    I hope that's only my illusion. But one can't stand on a moral high ground unless one acknowledges or at least open to all facts.

    • Start your own blog with your own resources. Slashdot owes you nothing, least of all coverage on the front page. Part of Slashdot's value is in filtering stories for its voluntary audience — providing "news for nerds."

      Even given this lack of obligation, Slashdot is fairly liberal (in the classical sense) in not censoring. Your journal is not censored. Your comments are not censored (barring that Scientology incident). Moderation is hardly censorship; it is another form of filtering that you voluntaril

  • But we already have that in a way here in the US, since most every major city in America has cameras on every building. ( and many many intersections ).

    Sure they don't get your ID, but if they get your face, and can track you to somewhere you might have used a CC card or ATM, or if you get into your car ( license plate ) they got you.

    Reasonable expectations of privacy is part of freedom. Did you enjoy it while we had it?

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