China Uses Its Surveillance State To Fight Coronavirus


Using thermal scanners in train stations, rail security can detect a person with a raised temperature and notify health authorities.

With the outbreak of coronavirus in China, the country is attempting to reduce the spread through its surveillance state.

In railway stations across the country, thermal scanners have been deployed to detect the body temperature of every commuter before they travel, according to Al Jazeera.

If a person’s temperature is suspect, the rail security can instantly alert health authorities and inform everyone on the coach about the incident.

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The process is simple because China requires anyone traveling on public transport to show a government-issued ID. This ID informs authorities on all sorts of ordinary activities, including buying a SIM card and creating a social media account.

Due to the large CCTV presence in all public areas, China is also able to identify a person in real-time through facial recognition. With this, a Chinese citizen suspected of having the coronavirus could have all their movements of the past 72 hours scanned, supposedly giving authorities more control over the spread of the virus.

“Facial recognition and the real-name system will help us track down those who have potentially been exposed to the virus and effectively curb the spreading of the pathogen,” said Zeng Yixin, deputy director of China’s National Health Commission. “This high level of technology was not available during the SARS outbreak in 2003. So, we believe the technological development is on our side in battling this outbreak.”

China has already begun to claim a reduction in the number of new cases, although, not many health officials believe the government. It has by far the most reported cases, however, this may be due to other countries not having the necessary facilities to recognize the virus.

David Curry

About David Curry

David is a technology writer with several years experience covering all aspects of IoT, from technology to networks to security.

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