A new report from the Beijing Science and Technology Committee has revealed the capital’s intention to track citizens’ cell phone signals. The report claims that the idea is to use the information to better understand traffic congestion and provide the public with data that will help them to plan their travels around congested areas.
“Through the base station with a range of clues and background processing, the staff can target specific areas and population distribution of people at different times the flow of people travel to accurately grasp the situation,” a Google-translated version of the report reads. “These include people which are in metro or bus and other transport, and which direction and line of traffic is too large, or not saturation. Basic information on the analysis of these massive, but also help Beijing achieve further optimization of transit network.”
Though Beijing claims the monitoring is purely to keep an eye on traffic, there is concern that China could have ulterior motives or that the project could infringe upon users’ privacy.