China’s Health Code app showcases the extreme smart surveillance regime

A smart technology atrociously deprives freedom and intrudes privacy

Health code is not created to improve your personal health, it is developed to maximise the control from the government.

In order to get access to some services such as public transport or getting into a supermarket or a restaurant, it is mandatory for you to have a Health Code with you on your phone showing that you are healthy with a Green Label. Although the government claims that it is voluntary to get a Health Code, you will be excluded from society if you don’t have one. You will be marginalised and it will bring enormous inconvenience to you living in China.
The Times’s analysis found that every time when a code is scanned, the current location of that person would be sent to the system’s server. It allows authorities to track individuals’ movements by their digital footprints. Moreover, the New York Times revealed that the data collected would be shared with the police to strengthen social control.
Image for postA subway guard in Hangzhou checks phones while helping a man set up the Alipay Health Code software. Everyone must have a green code to get through.Captured from Video by Paul Mozur

Whether or not to install the Health Code app is not voluntary in nature although the government said it is a personal choice.

If you do not have a code, you might not be able to enter both public and private areas. It poses barriers for individuals accessing essential services including public transport. In order to maintain your daily life, it is necessary for you to have one.

Image for postThere is a version for foreigners. The government suggests you get a Health Code as this would be a pass for you to travel in public areas. Source: 中国侨网
Your personal details will be collected and stored in the government database. Together with the data provided by tech giants such as Tencent and Alibaba, Health Code contributes to developing an ultimate smart surveillance system. Not only does the government have control over all of your personal data but also you have no ideas who would have access to your data and how they would be used.Information integrity in China is behind and vague as the laws protecting personal data are not stringent. Experts warn that there is a foreseeable threat to people’s privacy and misuse of information as the mass collection of personal data is accelerating.
Image for postYou have to register with your passport and provide your personal details. Source: 中国侨网

Have you watched Nosedive from Black Mirror?

Lacie’s life was built on a social score rated by others. The system determined where you live, what job you get, what kind of friend you have. If you are at a lower-ranking, you are ostracised by society and cannot travel by plane or own a good car.

Image for post

Did you think it was surreal and would only happen in a TV drama? Below is what proposed to implement in China.

CNN BUSINESS reported that the government in Hangzhou has proposed to utilise Health Code permanently and create a health score system collecting data such as daily alcohol consumption, tobacco use, steps, and sleep time from individuals. People would be rated according to their lifestyle and would be lower the ranking if they engaged in unhealthy activities. The proposal has been taken down from the official website as it provoked widespread criticism about the overt intrusion to privacy. The proposal is now been took down from the website. However, whether or not the proposal would be implemented in the future is still not clear.
Image for postFrom CNN by Hangzhou Municipal Health Commission

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