Even though many parts of the world are embracing wearable technology as a great way to improve fitness, efficiency and keep an eye on children and pets, there is one region which has shown a real disdain for it. China, while helping to manufacture many of the world’s most popular wearable devices, has banned the use of any smartwatches or fitness trackers in its army, amid concerns of security risks.
According to reports from one Chinese newspaper (via BBC), a private within the Chinese military received a smartwatch as a birthday present and attempted to use it to take a picture of his friends and fellow soldiers. This didn’t sit well with his higher ups and they quickly questioned whether such easily trackable technology should be allowed within the military, where the location of the soldier and his unit could be vital information that is far too easily accessible. Before long, the government’s agency responsible for national security, issued a statement banning the use of all devices within the army that can record sound or HD video, take photos or process and transmit data over the internet.
Signs and notices have also been issued to army bases around the country, as well as announcements made to various military organisations to make sure everyone knows the new rules in place.
This essentially extends an already existing ban on mobile phones in the Chinese army. In contrast, the British military does not ban such devices, unless soldiers are operating on secretive missions that require a black out of information. However, it has been suggested that with the personal nature of wearables tracking a lot of in-depth data about people, that military units may revert to their own devices before long, which could provide them with plenty of data on their soldiers, whilst transmitting over secure networks, rather than ones which are used by commercial enterprises.
While the British military seems relatively relaxed about wearables however, many governments and armed forces around the world have tightened up their security since the Edward Snowden leaks in 2013. That goes especially for non-US affiliated nations, which have further distanced themselves from American tech firms just in-case their data is looked over by the NSA or other organisations.
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