According to a dissident, refugee, and former technical advisor tortured by the government for his eventual opposition to the project, Venezuela has been working with China to develop technology that would enable the government to track, reward, or punish social, political, and economic behavior. Now, Venezuela is implementing a “smart” ID card that will link various citizen actions, likely things like subsidized food, healthcare, and other social programs, to central servers. Venezuela worked with Chinese company ZTE to develop the card and its accompanying mobile payment system, and a team of ZTE employees now works within a special unit of the Venezuelan state telecommunications company. Critics now claim that those with the card have more rights than those without it, and that China is providing repressive governments with the technological capacity to track, reward, and punish their people. So far, it appears that personal information, including income, property owned, medical history, state benefits received, social media pages, political memberships, and whether an individual has voted will all be available on the card.
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