What if there really is nowhere to run and nowhere to hide?
In the city of Zhongshan, China, a new program has begun that uses a blockchain-based network to track ex-convicts who have served their prison sentences and are back out in society. Apparently, the overall goal of this program is to improve “community correction,” according to Coindesk as well as local Chinese media.
As to how and where this technology is used, reportedly, when convicts who are out on parole go to check in at certain community service locations, these locations track when the convicts start and finish their work, using the Blockchain so the information cannot be altered in any way.
Contrary to Coindesk’s article which seems to paint this as a new use case, tracking any sort of data in this way is nothing more than using the Blockchain as it was originally meant to be used at is core. At its most basic level, the Blockchain is an immutable ledger and that is exactly how the Zhongshan government is using it.
Arguably, there are only two ways that doing so improves the process of tracking the movements of convicts as they return to society. First, as previously mentioned, any information that is entered onto a Blockchain cannot be altered later on. Secondly, since a Blockchain is a distributed system, the data that is entered on it also exists in a distributed fashion.
This effectively means that any agencies that are signed on to the Zhongshan community service blockchain can check this information at any time, from any location and know that it is also authorized as true by the community service centers.
What this does not mean is that suddenly, the Chinese agencies in question have this new power to track convict movements at any time, from any location. In summation, there is no indication that an Orwellian scenario in which we are all constantly tracked is on the horizon.
By: BGN Editorial Staff