In yet another worryingly menacing example of the kind of control which the Chinese authorities expect to retain over their citizens and businesses, Beijing is trialing new technology designed to track the location of mobile phones.
According to the state-sponsored People's Daily, the China Mobile is co-operating to release location data on its 17m subscribers in order to create a dynamic daily trip information platform.
Ostensibly the platform has been designed to provide vital information on where traffic congestion is worst, so that the authorities can learn population distribution and flow at different times and in different areas.
Traffic alerts could then be sent out, for example.
The article says the data is being anonymised to avoid privacy issues, and will be protected securely.
However, what citizens in the country will be more troubled about is the potential the data has to inform the authorities when unplanned demonstrations or protests are occurring.
It doesn't take a massive leap of imagination to see a rather more sinister purpose behind the creation of such a platform.
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