China's Closed Circuits
Foreign firms are helping China become the world’s largest market for security cameras.
China, the world’s most populated nation, will soon become the world’s most surveilled, besting the United States as the largest market for security cameras in 2014, according to a report from Homeland Security Research Corporation (HSRC).
China’s homeland-security and public-safety funding grew from $100 billion in 2011 to $111 billion in 2012, and will reach $159 billion by 2015. HSRC forecasts that this funding will reach $257 billion by 2020, in accordance with China’s recently published Five-Year Plan (2011-2015).
The boom in surveillance expenditures partly reflects how quickly the country is growing as a commercial hub. Today, two out of three new airports built worldwide are in China, and many of these surveillance systems will be placed in these areas. The country’s public transportation system, the world’s largest, is poised to undergo a multibillion-dollar security upgrade, which will include not only cameras but also sensors to detect chemical and biological threats.
But many of the cameras will be used in public places like movie theaters and concert venues as part of China’s “Safe Cities” program, which seeks to put camera systems in more than 600 cities across the nation. For instance, in the Guangdong Province, a manufacturing center near Hong Kong, the government is constructing a million-camera surveillance system at an estimated cost of more than $6 billion. These cameras might be useful in monitoring, or possibly preempting, protests or dissident action.
“The last three decades of dramatic economic growth in China have bred social tensions, ethnic frictions, and domestic terror, leading the central government to invest whatever it takes to defend the economic-social-political fabric of the country,” said HSRC spokesman Dan Inbar.
In 2012, about 40% of China’s $111 billion public-safety investment went to various forms of what China calls “nonmilitary” domestic surveillance, which American firms are allowed to sell to China. Among active foreign players in the Chinese security market are IBM China, FLIR, GE Security Asia, Honeywell Security Group, Tyco Fire & Security, Panasonic, Samsung Electronics, Siemens, Bosch Security, Sony, Sikorsky, Honeywell, and EADS.
The United States currently maintains an embargo to prevent the sale of “military” or “defense” equipment to China, but homeland and public-safety products aren’t considered defense products by the U.S. State Department. HSRC and the U.S. Department of Defense argue that the way China defines “defense” excludes activity that’s military in origin. —Patrick Tucker
Sources: Dan Inbar [personal interview], Homeland Security Research, homelandsecurityresearch.com
“In Beijing, ‘Smart City’ plan brings more surveillance” by Tom Hancock, Smart Planet (CBS Interactive), www.Smartplanet.com.
Free Email Newsletter
To sign up for Futurist Update, our free monthly email newsletter, enter your email in the box below and click Save.
December 19, 2014 - In my last posting I presented ten disturbing statistics about our 21st century world. There are, however, signs that we humans haven't yet succumbed to a hopeless future. So let's look at ten technological innovations and the positive disruption they bring to this century, leading to a much better outcome by the year 2100.
December 18, 2014 - With 2015 a mere two weeks away I thought a year-in-review look at where we are trending would give humanity a sense of urgency about tackling the many challenges we are imposing on our species and the other inhabitants of this planet.
December 17, 2014 - Move over Earth. You are probably no longer the sole source of life in the Universe, or even in the Solar System.
December 16, 2014 - Desalination of Pacific Ocean water may prove to be a cheaper solution for California then massive relocation of its cities as
A cybotopia would be a world in which cyborgs and AI machines and systems dominate and rule over “unenhanced” humans, turning human beings as we know them today into a sub-species, or lower-order being.
A dystopia, transliterated from Greek roots of this word, is a “not good place”. It’s a society which is profoundly dysfunctional by the standards of human civilization.
December 15, 2014 - I am asked this question a lot. My answer is simple. Weather is what is happening today and being forecasted over the next few days. It is the daily phenomena of local atmospheric churning. On any given day the weather we experience has little to do with the overall dynamics of Earth's atmosphere.
December 14, 2014 - Two weeks of meetings in Lima, Peru have ended with 190 countries coming to agreement to address climate change on a nation-by-nation basis. Called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) they will form the foundation for climate action from 2020 onward.
December 13, 2014 - Venture Beat in its latest issue of VB News has published 8 statistics for 2014 that show just how much is changing in America when it comes to energy production.