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Big (Data) Brother Cometh: Beijing tracks the elderly as they take buses, go shopping

This might look like a mess to you and me. But for the right algorithm the data is clear as day.

It’s not just the elderly and its not just the Chinese.

You are a data point to be managed from the perspective of the government. Where are you going? What resources do you use? What’s your credit score? What websites do you frequent? How many miles do you drive? What food do you purchase from the grocery store?

There was a time when it was easy to dismiss the above as the distopian conjurings of fevered minds. Now Big Data Brother is very quickly becoming reality. The managers want your data. They distrust privacy. And they loathe resistance.

Oooh, I almost forgot. There’s a sale at Kohl’s today. Use your phone to pay and get 5% off.


The data amassed with each swipe of the multi-purpose “Beijing Connect” old person’s card goes into a massive database of the elderly in the capital. City authorities hope the information will enable them to better cope with their burgeoning population of over-60s, which already stands at 3 million.

Though geared toward the elderly, the program demonstrates how China more broadly is using big data to better direct the use of government resources for the country’s 1.4 billion people. Beijing’s strategy is to use new technology and its heavily censored Internet to innovate and propel China’s transformation to a services-based economy — a strategy that Premier Li Keqiang has said “will trigger a new Industrial Revolution.”

Click here for the article.

 if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.


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