- Title: China rolls out fresh data collection campaign to combat coronavirus
- Date: 12th March 2020
- Summary: SHANGHAI, CHINA (MARCH 5, 2020) (REUTERS) SHANGHAI STREET PEOPLE STANDING AT ENTRANCE AND POLICE CHECKING IDENTITY
- Keywords: China coronavirus China data China data tracking big data
- Reuters ID: LVA001C4QVKNB
- Location: SHANGHAI, HONG KONG, CHINA
- City: SHANGHAI, HONG KONG, CHINA
- Country: China
- Duration: 00:00:10
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Topics: Health/Medicine
- Story Text:China's local governments are ramping up surveillance efforts with new data collection campaigns to better trace residents' moves in public areas, seeking to curb the coronavirus outbreak but heightening privacy concerns.
At least 15 provinces and cities with a combined population of over 358 million have announced such "big data" measures this month, adding to a host of monitoring tools already being used, such as facial recognition and phone data tracking.
Visitors to office buildings, shopping malls, residential compounds and metro systems are now being asked to scan QR codes using their mobile phones and fill in forms asking for information such as their travel history and body temperature, according to residents and local media reports.
Some regions are also instructing residents to use newly launched features by Alibaba Group Holding's Alipay and Tencent Holdings's WeChat apps. Users fill in a questionnaire to obtain a color-based QR code which then acts as guidance at checkpoints as to whether the person should be quarantined or let through.
But the additional measures are fuelling debate over privacy and the extent and uses of the data repository China is building on its citizens. Western diplomats and activists have criticised China's use of mass surveillance in the past.
"We also have to balance this with the right privacy and the long-term risks that could come from misuse of the data," said Business and Human Rights Advisor at Amnesty International, William Nee.
The coronavirus outbreak, traced to the Hubei provincial capital of Wuhan, has killed 2,715 so far and stricken about 78,000 in mainland China.
(Production: Xihao Jiang, Joyce Zhou, Fang Nanlin)
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