China to use 'Minority Report' big data surveillance to predict terrorism

The Chinese government has contracted China Electronics Technology Group to develop technology, similar to that used in the sci-fi thriller "Minority Report," that can predict acts of terrorism before they occur based on large amounts of surveillance data.

The technology will collect data on ordinary citizens including information on their jobs, hobbies, consumption habits, and other behaviours and will flag unusual behaviour that could signal a potential terrorist, according to Bloomberg.  

The programme aims to flag suspicious activity such as a resident of a poor village suddenly having a lot of money in a personal bank account or someone with no overseas relatives making frequent calls abroad, China Electronics Technology Group chief engineer Wu Manqing told Bloomberg.

“We don't call it a big data platform,” Wu said, “but a united information environment.”

Chinese police have the authority to freeze bank assets and compel organisations to hand over communication records once a suspect is accused.