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China Privacy

China's Surveillance State Will Soon Track Cars (wsj.com) 113

China is establishing an electronic identification system to track cars nationwide, according to a report on WSJ, which cites records and people briefed on the matter. From a report: Under the plan being rolled out July 1, a radio-frequency identification chip for vehicle tracking will be installed on cars when they are registered. Compliance will be voluntary this year but will be made mandatory for new vehicles at the start of 2019, the people said. Authorities have described the plan as a means to improve public security and to help ease worsening traffic congestion, documents show, a major concern in many Chinese cities partly because clogged roads contribute to air pollution. But such a system, implemented in the world's biggest automotive market, with sales of nearly 30 million vehicles a year, will also vastly expand China's surveillance network, experts say. That network already includes widespread use of security cameras, facial recognition technology and internet monitoring.

China's Surveillance State Will Soon Track Cars

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  • by b0s0z0ku ( 752509 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2018 @09:15PM (#56781026)
    US has EZ-Pass, which is a defacto tracking system, even if not originally designed as such.
    • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2018 @09:52PM (#56781170)

      US has EZ-Pass, which is a defacto tracking system, even if not originally designed as such.

      EZ-Pass / FasTrak are opt-in, so not the same at all.

      They can be legally removed from the vehicle at anytime.

      • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
        The change is that the chip is now getting talked about.
        Huge police actions tracked every chip movement in and around Hong Kong for years using toll road payment chips.
        Drivers had no idea they got tracked with that police method when police moved in. Criminal groups always went looking for informants for years. Was it a person, phone, CCTV...
        Every van, truck, car can be tracked in the same way. That had been going on for many years in China. Criminal groups kept on changing methods but always got tr
        • Re 'They can be legally removed from the vehicle at anytime."
          A car with no chip stands out in real time surrounded by other cars with a chip moving down a road...

          Most people do not have EZ-Pass or FasTrak. They are opt-in, and most people don't. You only need them if you use toll roads or drive across toll bridges regularly.

          I have a FastTrak card, but I removed it from my car several years ago when my commute changed. I only take it with me when I know I will crossing a bridge across the bay.

          • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
            China got around that freedom. So all transport could be tracked by police. Communism is like that.
          • Do you also remove your license plates? In Norcal at least, FasTrak can use license plate readers for billing. No toll tag required.

            However FasTrak does still encourage users to get a toll tag. Suggesting perhaps that plate readers are less reliable than RFID.

            • Do you also remove your license plates? In Norcal at least, FasTrak can use license plate readers for billing. No toll tag required.

              However FasTrak does still encourage users to get a toll tag. Suggesting perhaps that plate readers are less reliable than RFID.

              In Florida, the toll roads that I've been on are solely Plate readers. The billing can provably be more automated with a toll tag is my guess for using both.

          • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

            Does it really make any difference, given that your car as a unique identifier written on it and licence plat recognition systems are cheap and pervasive?

          • And MOST people have cellphones, and are tracked 24/7
          • by bobby ( 109046 )

            Tollgates, cops, traffic cameras, etc., are all scanning and recording license plates.

        • A car with no chip stands out in real time surrounded by other cars with a chip moving down a road... Removing the chip is not a way around such laws. No chip, no car trip.

          Wat? EZ-Pass as a surveillance device is kinda a big fail.

          Yeah it might show that you drove past a toll both in Tuckahoe New Jersey at 4:55 p.m., but that's just incidental to the data needed to pay your toll. You're really gonna be pissed to know that there are cameras there that image your face and your license plate.

          In Florida they have a system that does away with the toll booth entirely, and takes a photo of the ass end of your car, then sends you a bill in the mail.

          Then again, there is the w

          • For now you have the privacy to drive a car with no insurance, whoever you hit has to have uninsured motorist coverage. You have the privacy to drive with a suspended license, even if you have had five DWI's. You have the privacy to clone a tag and have some stranger in another state get all your parking tickets.
    • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2018 @09:57PM (#56781196)
      for the same reason I want Medicare for All I'd like to see toll roads go away. Some things should just be paid for by civilization as a whole. China isn't oppressing these people for shits and giggles. They're doing it because they've got massive wealth inequality and this is how you maintain a society when you've got lots of folks who lack food security and shelter. The reason you guarantee a decent quality of life is because you can't be free when somebody controls your access to food, shelter, healthcare, education & transportation. The latter being needed to access to former. Until then you're a weeks meals or a harsh winter away from doing whatever the folks in charge of the money say.
    • Who needs that?in many counties they have been tracking the cellphone/Bluetooth /WiFi signals to Id vehicles for over a decade.
      You think they have not linked that to plates and ownership? Oh dear.
      Welcome to big data, government style.
      Its for your own good, really.
      Kind of...

    • US has EZ-Pass, which is a defacto tracking system, even if not originally designed as such.

      But at least with EZ-Pass you can opt out (at some inconvenience when you travel). You can't opt out of having a radio-linked tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) on any new car purchased in 2008 or later.

      TPMSes work by having, in each tire's valve stem, a pressure sensor with a radio transmitter and a battery (good for 7 years, after which the system nags you until you replace the senders), which periodically tra

      • You can't opt out of having a radio-linked tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) on any new car purchased in 2008 or later.

        RIght:

        A) Buy replacement wheels (they don't come with TPMS sensors) and tires.

        B) Mount on vehicle.

    • Maybe I'm weird for being in Michigan, but there's no EZ Pass implemented here, my dude. Just cell phones and cars on the cell network.

  • by fubarrr ( 884157 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2018 @09:20PM (#56781042)

    China already has nationwide numberplate scanning network

  • by nehumanuscrede ( 624750 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2018 @09:20PM (#56781044)

    than the GPS enabled " digital " license plate California wants to roll out other than the different spin put on it.

    China does it = Evil Surveillance State
    California does it = No way we'll ever use it for nefarious purposes ! We pinky swear ! We're the good guys ! :|

    • Everyone mocked California. Then it was explained the use case was for business vehicles (like delivery trucks) where the tracking was a feature.

  • You've caught up to the level of oppression^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hsecurity we in the UK have had for some time:
      * https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

  • Rich (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Excelcia ( 906188 ) <kfitzner@excelcia.ca> on Wednesday June 13, 2018 @09:28PM (#56781074) Homepage Journal

    This is rich. China's surveillance state. How about the UK with ANPR [wikipedia.org] - not just the UK, there are a lot of placed, even here in Canada, with ANPR now but not like the UK has. How about the NSA tapping into every internet backbone in the world? The Five Eyes have more domestic surveillance than China will ever have. [wikipedia.org]

    Stories like this make me angry. Not because I think of China as being any better, but because people who write these kind of headlines are just so willfully ignorant it makes my teeth itch. We (read every resident of a Western democracy) have been living in the kind of a surveillance state for the last decade as would have given the head of the KGB at the height of the Soviet Union an absolute erection.

    • We (read every resident of a Western democracy) have been living in the kind of a surveillance state for the last decade as would have given the head of the KGB at the height of the Soviet Union an absolute erection.

      The East German Stasi [britannica.com] might be a better historical parallel, and it's really not so much an argument that we're better off than China as it is a testament to the similarities between all forms of government.

      Information is power. Controlling your domestic populace is key to expanding your nation's international influence. One could successfully argue the chance of being voted out of office for being pro-surveillance in a western democracy is increasingly infinitesimal; yet, in China, the likelihood is virt

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Information is power.

        Yes. But it's not the only form of power. IOW, don't get too hung up on having it.

        Controlling your domestic populace is key to expanding your nation's international influence.

        Hmno. Point in case: As the US tracking of everyone and everything ever expands, its power and influence in the world is actually waning, the empire crumbling. China is on the rise, sure, but it isn't because of their "social score demerits for jaywalking via facial recognition" or any such malarky.

        Influencing the world isn't about string puppet control of your own citizens.

        One could successfully argue the chance of being voted out of office for being pro-surveillance in a western democracy is increasingly infinitesimal; yet, in China, the likelihood is virtually nil.

        I don't know about the former, actually: There's a gr

    • by Tailhook ( 98486 )

      Stories like this make me angry. ... makes my teeth itch.

      The story, or at least this summary, is objective and neutral in tone about the matter; pretty much just the facts about a new Chinese surveillance state policy. The problem you're having is one of excessive self regard; you're convinced that all these non-Chinese readers are oblivious to all the surveillance they're subject to and in desperate need of your brilliant insight while they're gently fondling their 'murican flags and ARs.

      We're not. Try to calm yourself. Thanks.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      How about the UK with ANPR [wikipedia.org] - not just the UK, there are a lot of placed, even here in Canada, with ANPR now but not like the UK has.

      I would say that those efforts do not compare equally with Chinese systems in either scale or scope. In China the surveillance is both more pervasive and invasive of liberty than it is even in the UK or Canada.

      How about the NSA tapping into every internet backbone in the world?

      In China they not only tap the backbones, but they automatically censor content and block VPN and other encrypted connections too. There's no automatic government mandated censoring in the United States and VPN connections still work here. The NSA may be able to break some encrypted communications but

    • Re:Rich (Score:4, Insightful)

      by larryjoe ( 135075 ) on Thursday June 14, 2018 @02:14AM (#56781790)

      This is rich. China's surveillance state. How about the UK ...

      It's not the surveillance that's the problem. It's the willingness of the state to act upon that data in a way that violates human rights that is the problem.

      I monitor my kids in very detailed and intrusive ways (well, at least that's what they tell me). However, I don't use that information to beat my kids when they say something bad about me. China has shown a willingness to imprison, intimidate, and physically harm based on surveillance, and that is a huge difference with most Western governments.

      • China has shown a willingness to imprison, intimidate, and physically harm based on surveillance, and that is a huge difference with most Western governments.

        Yes, the difference is that western governments take the time to engage in parallel construction so that it looks less like they are doing the same things.

        The primary substantive difference between China and the west (so far) is that China formally executes vastly more citizens than any western nation. It doesn't matter if you count them, or measure per capita. It's not how they make use of surveillance data.

        V2V is coming to all vehicles everywhere sooner or later, the way things are going now.

    • Stories like this make me angry.

      Huh, We wouold never have guessed. Perhaps a move to Northern Nunavut is advised for your peace of mind.

  • If this is a built-in chip as opposed to a magnetic device stuck in your wheel well, you can't just stroll out of the El Pollo Loco after lunch, fish out the device from your car, and stick it onto an adjacent touristmobile to throw your pursuers off the track.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    my 2013 chrysler has a cell modem in it which is always receiving traffic updates and weather
    my 2008 gmc had on star.
    not to mention the personal trackers we carry everywhere (cell phones)
    privacy is dead but people hardly recognize it
    parallel construction keeps the depths they track us masked

  • The UK had its ring of steel https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] using tracking in/out of a city in the early/mid 1990's
  • LPR Readers (Score:4, Interesting)

    by speedlaw ( 878924 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2018 @10:13PM (#56781260) Homepage
    Already there in the US. In the NYC area, cross a bridge ? EZ pass and photos. Use most highways ? EZ pass readers "for statistical tracking". Lose your 95 yo Grandparent and they have a car ? "Elderly male missing, White Nissan Sentra, LPR hit on plate at XX location two hours ago".
    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      The US federal gov police task forces have used that for years. Every face, phone, voice prints, passengers face. Front and back image for the LPR.
      With a K9 unit to ask about citizenship as legal cover. Ask about "citizenship" is just to get everyone talking into the mic.
      About their rights and the how and why of getting asked. All great for a domestic voice print given to law enforcement for free along with LPR and a really good quality image of the face.. phone powered on too? Thats more data to
      • Here in Australia, it is more the licence plate readers that are now everywhere. No need for electronic tracking.

        Scary, but I had a suicidal relative that drove off one day. Her husband rang the police, who could track her down very quickly due to number plate reading. So there is an up side.

        • by voss ( 52565 )

          A license plate reader is a passive system if your car is not on the highway or going somewhere with a toll its not tracked. What china is talking about is active tracking.

  • Thanks for all of your stories over the years, but it looks as if it is time to leave this website forever. Thanks again for the stories.
  • Tracking cars is helps but it's not the right solution for them. Instead they should put the chips in their population at birth just in case their cell phone dies or is turned off.
  • They already track everyone's phone and have cameras everywhere taking video and pictures of just about every street in the country.
  • Why go to these half measures, China? Just implant tracking chips in everyone from birth and make it a death-penalty offense to evade it. It's not like anyone actually believes you care about human rights at all.
  • Of course t he LCD screens will spare you the excruciating effort of putting on those pesky annual renewal stickers manually. Downside is the Stateâ(TM)s ability to put a BOLO notice on you carâ(TM)s plates in real time.

  • You're tracked when you're carrying cell phone.

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