Journalists in China are facing an eerie new surveillance system that scans faces for “people of concern,” reports the BBC. The surveillance system, set in the Chinese province of Henan, categorizes journalists into red, amber, and green cohorts. A “red” classification translates to a journalist considered to be of “key concern” and alleges they will be “dealt with accordingly,” according to documents discovered by the surveillance analyst firm IPVM. “Yellow” translates to people of general concern, while journalists marked “green” aren’t considered “harmful.” “People of concern,” including foreign students and migrant women, will be surveilled using facial-recognition technology connected to thousands of cameras in Henan that connect with China’s national database of information about and images of people in the country. The documents allege the system strives to track data from cell phones, social media like WeChat and Weibo, vehicle details, hotel stays, travel tickets, property ownership, and photos from existing databases.
Human Rights Watch strongly condemned the invasive surveillance ploy, saying: “This is not a government that needs more power to track more people... especially those who might be trying to peacefully hold it accountable.”