China’s New Surveillance Project

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Seeking to build an ambitious new citywide surveillance project, china is looking west for assistance.

Cisco and other western companies are reportedly working with the Chinese government to install a network of one half-million surveillance cameras in the rapidly growing commercial and industrial metropolis,Chongqing.

This network, being built over the next two to three years, is among the largest and most sophisticated video-surveillance projects of its kind in China, and perhaps the world.

Other companies tied to the project include HP and Alabama-based Intergraph, a developer of software that analyzes video feeds for unusual situations such as fires (or gathering crowds).

Little has been published in the West about the surveillance-camera network, dubbed “Peaceful Chongqing”. However, a notice onChongqing Currents, a city-news site, reports that a Peaceful Chongqing “mobilization and deployment meeting” was held this March.

The goal of the surveillance project is described as being to make Chongqing “a city with good security, harmonious peace and safety for investment, and to provide stable society for promotion of the harmonious urban and rural development.”

While American vendors are forbidden from exporting crime control or detection equipment to China, there was nothing stopping them from selling other equipment that might support it.

Cisco executives have stressed that the vendor had not sold cameras or surveillance kit in any of its Chinese infrastructure projects, according to the report.

HP had also reportedly made a bid to supply the networks server and storage requirements; however its senior executives offered a less cautious response to ethical questions.

Surveillance on a city is a costly business that has been remarked by some as ‘invasion to privacy’; but having an advanced security system has more benefits than just easing traffic. It waits to be seen how well this system is fitted in the city, and if there would be a fall in crime numbers.

Sources: WSJ, theregister, itnews

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