The Chinese public is now able to “binge” watch surveillance feeds like a reality TV show, even spying on young children, according to a report.
In an article for the Wall Street Journal, writer Josh Chin explains that “China’s 751 million internet users can binge on real-time video streams of yoga studios, swimming lessons, alpaca ranches and thousands of other scenes captured by surveillance cameras.”
“Much of what’s available would be unthinkable in the West, according to legal experts, because people dining out, taking dance classes or shopping for lingerie would likely object to having their live images beamed publicly, and doing so without their permission could invite litigation,” Chin continued. “In China, however, surveillance is both pervasive and widely accepted.”
“Relaxed popular attitudes toward privacy are one reason China’s government has been able to push the boundaries of surveillance,” elaborated Chin in his article. “China is unique in offering up such a trove of surveillance video, privacy advocates said. While sites exist elsewhere that provide live access to surveillance video, none do it on the scale of Chinese sites.”
Chin also claimed that surveillance has even extended into schools and classrooms, where voyeuristic men can watch young students engaging in activities.
“No [surveillance warning] notice was visible at the Shang Ya Dance School in northern Beijing last week as a white Qihoo camera live-streamed a dozen young girls in pastel leotards twirling around a cramped studio,” Chin declared. “Parents and a staff member at the studio said they thought the feed was only visible in a private chat group for students’ parents, but it was open to the public on the Shuidi site.”
Anonymous strangers allegedly commented throughout the dance class, making comments about the young girls, such as, “The first and second ones in the front row are the best dancers.”
Charles Farrier, the founder of British “privacy activist group” No CCTV, claims public surveillance feeds “normalize” the concept of spying on other people, “thus making it more acceptable for the police or the state to spy on its citizens.”
Hundreds of live surveillance feeds are currently available to watch on Chinese sites such as Shuidi.