Freedom Is The Open Window Through Which Pours The Sunlight Of The Human Spirit And Human Dignity.
– Herbert Hoover
I have just read online, again, that a gazillion cameras monitor people in China, using technology such as facial recognition, geo-tracking, body scanning, etc.
This is not limited to tracking physical movements, but also includes censoring what you can read, hear, see / watch (through the Internet and other media) , how many children you can have, etc.
Absolutely no privacy.
What is said, done and even thought are all being monitored / scrutinised, leading to a perpetually ‘moving score’ used to classify you as a good / bad citizen, with associated rewards / punishment.
As you drive about, Authorities know exactly (every) where you go, on a continuous basis.
A rating system is used similar to what Credit Bureaux maintain to help take a decision on who to extend credit to, and who to deny, based on credit scores / history.
These ratings cut across a wide gamut of society, like banking, hospitality industry, insurance, justice, transport, etc. Being able to do a simple thing like lodge in a hotel may become an issue, depending on specific ratings!
For people who live in countries where personal liberty / freedom is taken for granted, and is not so invasively curtailed /violated, adapting to such an environment while first arriving would be tough. I would certainly hate to live in such an environment despite being a law abiding citizen and having no criminal plans or tendencies.
It is true that the exercise of freedom, juxtaposed with the need for public order, national security, the conservation of moral values, respect for the rights of one’s fellow citizens necessitate the restriction of some liberties. However, there needs to be a balance. There is a fine line between enforcing / promoting good behavior versus wanton invasion of privacy, or being a “Free” Prisoner Of State.
The (planned) installation of CCTV cameras in places like Lagos and Ogun States to monitor and apprehend traffic violators or criminal activities is good.
But these things can be overdone.
Let us remember that data is the new oil and can be used for good… or, for evil. Also, governance is not always about altruism, but often about hard-nosed practicality .
Having lived in the Western World , how easily would you be able to adapt to operating in a hyper-restrictive environment such as China ?
Would you sacrifice personal liberty for the advantages of an over_regulated society in terms of security, etc?