Work history, religion, police record, and reproductive history to be tracked
By Daniel Taylor
As reported by the New York Times, China is set to begin issuing computerized RFID enabled identification cards to 12.4 million people in the city of Shenzhen.
“Data on the chip will include not just the citizen’s name and address but also work history, educational background, religion, ethnicity, police record, medical insurance status and landlord’s phone number. Even personal reproductive history will be included, for enforcement of China’s controversial “one child” policy. Plans are being studied to add credit histories, subway travel payments and small purchases charged to the card.”
In 2006 China’s Ministry of Public Security announced plans to issue 1.3 billion cards utilizing RFID technology.
The vice president for investor relations at China Public Security Technology, Michael Lin states that, “If they do not get the permanent card, they cannot live here, they cannot get government benefits, and that is a way for the government to control the population in the future.”
The New York Times also quotes Robin Huang, the chief operating officer of China Public Security as stating, “We have a very good relationship with U.S. companies like I.B.M., Cisco, H.P., Dell,.”, “All of these U.S. companies work with us to build our system together.”
Similar statements to those coming from China Public Security have come from Britain and the United States regarding plans to issue RFID enabled cards in the two countries. As the UK Daily Mail reports,
“James Hall, the official in charge of the supposedly-voluntary scheme, said the Government would allow people to opt out – but in return they must “forgo the ability” to have a travel document.”
The Real ID Act, signed into law in 2005 in the United States, is a “voluntary” program in which states will follow federal standards on drivers licenses. If individuals choose to not accept the card, they lose the ability to board a plane, open a bank account, or enter a federal building. Biometric information such as fingerprints and retinal scans are required on the cards. Also included in the Real ID legislation is the requirement for “Machine readable technology.” While RFID is not specifically mentioned, the trend is towards the use of the technology, as American passports have been recently RFID enabled. Homeland Security has warned states not to reject the “voluntary” cards. Computerworld reports,
“Despite the criticism, the DHS continues to insist that the law be implemented on schedule. “I think residents of states that choose not to comply are going to be displeased with their leadership’s decision when we get closer to full implementation,” a DHS spokesman said. “They’ll no longer be able do certain things that carriers of state-issued drivers licenses take for granted today.”