“Just about every time I get an international phone call on my Chinese mobile phone, I’m pinged within seconds by a text message. It’s an automated message from the anti-fraud department of the city of Shenzhen’s Public Security Bureau (PSB), China’s version of the FBI. This message informs me in polite Chinese that the PSB knows I’m on the phone with someone calling from outside China, and so I should be especially vigilant, because the caller could be part of some scheme to steal my money or otherwise cheat me.”While the fact that government surveils its citizens is not really ‘breaking news’, one characteristic that is rather interesting is the that the data being collected is for sale online, and it’s not that expensive. An investigation done by the Guangzhou Southern Metropolis Daily, a Chinese newspaper, explains that for a little over $100 (US dollars), you could access detailed reports about your friends and family–including bank records, recent hotels visited, travel arrangements, border entry and exit records, real estate transactions, etc.
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