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China is raising the alarm over corporate surveillance. But it's got a massive network of its own

March 19, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

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A popular annual consumer rights show in China has sparked a national debate about privacy and surveillance and sent companies scrambling to stay on Beijing's good side.

Hong Kong (CNN Business)A popular annual consumer rights show in China has sparked a national debate about privacy and surveillance and sent companies scrambling to stay on Beijing's good side.

Chinese state broadcaster China Central Television, or CCTV, used the program to accuse several companies of secretly collecting data about their customers using facial recognition — notably, without mentioning the massive network of facial recognition cameras that the Chinese government has built, capable of tracking people in real time.

CCTV accused the Chinese unit of American manufacturer Kohler, for example, of installing cameras in hundreds of its stores in China and capturing the faces of customers to analyze their gender and age, among other details.

And Chinese state media reported that Max Mara suspended the use of store cameras, though the company added that it was only using data to count customer traffic.

"Impinging on people's privacy isn't a good look for Kohler and BMW, but it's a far cry [from] China's massive [closed-circuit television] surveillance network," said Paul Bischoff, a consumer privacy expert and the editor of Comparitech, a UK-based technology research firm.

by summa-bot

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