The government denies it. Just keepin’ track of the traffic, they say.
Hong Kong, a former British possession, was ceded back to China in the late 20th century and incorporated into the communist country as a “semi-autonomous” zone where vestiges of freedom would be allowed to persist. The catch is, semi-autonomy ends in 2047, at which time Red China will swallow up Hong Kong. But a lot of people in Hong Kong think the Chicoms won’t wait that long.
Despite government denials that the lampposts are being used to spy on people, protesters have been sawing them down, breaking them with sledge hammers, and pulling out the wiring. It seems they don’t trust their city’s puppet government which exists at the sufferance of the reds in Peking (“Bay-jing” to show-offs).
They also believe that the lampposts are being used to track them by means of “chips that are now mandatory on people’s local identification cards.” That wailing sound you hear in the background is jealous American liberals wishing they could do that here. So people in Hong Kong have learned to block the chips by using aluminum foil–“wrap your whole wallet,” popular wisdom says.
Human liberty is the gift of God; it is not natural to fallen man in a fallen world. That’s why there’s always someone, usually lots of someones, trying to wipe it out. Utopian humanist governments always wish to be as gods. They always turn out to be as devils.
How would you like being banned from shopping in hundreds or even thousands of stores, because a security camera once caught you shoplifting? And how would you like it if you hadn’t shoplifted, the hi-tech fancy robots got it wrong, and you were severely punished for something you not only didn’t do, but had never even been arraigned and put on trial for?
So far it’s not the government doing this (not that we know of!), but chains of stores, airports, concert venues, tunnel entrances–all private concerns. But don’t let that comfort you. If the police want to watch you closely, and can’t get a warrant for it–or would rather not ask any court for a warrant, because their case is too flimsy–how hard would it be for them to ask nicely for some store’s “facial recognition” watch list data? (I may not be using the right techno-terms here, but you know what I mean.) But at least if they arrest you, you’ll have a chance to defend yourself in court. If 500 stores ban you because a robot told ’em you’re a crook, you have no defense.