Chinese police have moved a step closer to launching a system to register citizens’ fingerprints in 2013, it was reported on Saturday.
[ . . . ]
On Oct. 29, 2011, China adopted an amendment to its Resident Identity Card Law to require citizens’ fingerprints to be recorded, a move expected to be helpful in identifying people in a faster and more precise manner and effectively curb the counterfeiting and altering of ID cards.
The new policy will be enforced from Jan. 1, 2013, when the country’s first version of ID cards, launched in 1985, will also expire, according to a statement issued in May by the Ministry. (Xinhua)
Okay, I can see how this might look rather Big Brotherish, particularly to those in the West who still see China as having an all-powerful, monolithic State that would put George Lucas’s Empire to shame (although perhaps not the Disney version). The optics aren’t so great, I grant you. On the other hand, if I was worried about a security state out of control, I’d be much more concerned with a London-style camera infestation (which is coming as well), mobile phone GPS tracker technology, or the use of brain scans by the police to determine the veracity of oral statements.
Fingerprints on file? Meh. National ID cards are generally a good thing in terms of administrative efficiency, and with the other types of electronic surveillance out there these days, it’s not like the authorities can’t grab folks when they need to anyway.
Unless the State is going to start a Gattaca-like exercise of hoovering every flat surface for DNA and other biosignatures, I’m not going to worry about this one.