Venezuela creates smart card to get China-style social control
Venezuela has rolled out new smart cards modelled after China's social credit system, in order to keep a close eye on its citizens.
VENEZUELA — Venezuela has taken a page from China's book by rolling out its own authoritarian surveillance tech in the form of smart cards.
According to a Reuters report, Venezuela's new 'Fatherland' ID was inspired by China's smart cards, which allow the government to track a citizen's social, political and economic behavior.
Venezuela initially wanted cards embedded with RFID chips, which can track location and data. Ultimately, they used QR codes developed by Chinese telecom giant ZTE to reduce costs.
ZTE also built a database for the fatherland cards. The cards are linked to employment and income, property, medical history and political party membership.
The Venezuelan government has previously provided incentives to cardholders to encourage adoption of the card — giving cash prizes for rallying voters, for example, or a Mother's Day bonus.
Citizens are now being forced to get the cards in order to receive public benefits such as medicine, pension, subsidized food, and fuel.
Describing the program as 'blackmail,' Hector Navarro, one of the founders of the Socialist Party in Venezuela, claims Venezuelans who have cards have more rights than those who don't.
Mariela Magallanes, an opposition lawmaker in Venezuela, previously investigated unenrolled citizens being deprived of subsidized food boxes, and says the government knows who is vulnerable to pressure."
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