Taiwanese working in China fear being tracked by Chinese ID card

The third-generation ID card will reportedly help Chinese authorities collect blood samples and track citizens

By Associated Press

By Associated Press

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- China's third-generation ID card will reportedly contain information on an individual's blood sample, and incorporate a global positioning system (GPS) tracking device, which is causing Taiwanese working in China anxiety.

Currently, the new ID card is still at a conceptual stage. Yet over the last few days, fear over potential breaches of personal privacy has spread across Chinese social media.

The new ID card will reportedly integrate GPS tracking, multiple-functions (bank card, credit card, social security card, and shopping card), and fingerprint identification. It will also show a citizen's registered address instead of a residential address, contain blood sample information and may even be used as a USB device.

GPS tracking will potentially enable police to locate the ID card at all times. This has worried Chinese netizens who fear a loss of privacy.

The news also worries Taiwanese citizens working in China, who fear their residence permits will soon follow suit. Zhao Lei (alias), a Taiwanese working in the public relations sector in Shanghai, spoke of his first reaction to the news.

“I'm just glad that I don't have to use the Chinese ID card. But it worries me if the residence permit card will soon follow suit. It's frightening to hand over your biometric information to the government.”

On Wednesday (April 10), however, Beijing Times (北京時間) , an internet service that is part of the state-owned Beijing Media Network (北京廣播電視台), claimed to have received clarification from an anonymous "authoritative source" that the third-generation ID card would not include GPS tracking.

Nevertheless, the authorities have yet to officially announce any explanation about the news. It remains uncertain to what degree the third generation ID card will infringe on personal privacy of citizens, with features such as positional tracking or blood sample information

(Netizens voice privacy concerns on the Internet/Weibo image)