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Is the Chinese Government Bugging Cars?

Hong Kong based newspaper Apple Daily claims that the electronic devices the Chinese government calls “inspection and quarantine cards” and are required for certain cars are actually listening devices. The newspaper, which has an anti-establishment reputation in China, has released several photos identifying the components they claim are used to listen in on drivers.

The image above was run in the Epoch Times.

The devices, which the government requires to be installed on cars with dual license plates, began to be mandated in 2007. They are described as being about the size of an iPhone, and are placed on the windshield of the car. According to the report, smugglers were among the first to be suspicious of the devices after their shipments were targeted with remarkable accuracy. To back up their claims, Apple Daily opened the device and took it to an electrical engineering professor at Hong Kong University and a private detective. Both of these individuals attested to the “espionage potential” of the device.

It would not be surprising if the Chinese government was, in fact, bugging cars. We’ve even seen the FBI use similar, if less invasive, methods to track targets of interest. But if true, the scale of the Chinese program would be far, far greater. The report estimates that the devices could be installed in as many as 20,000 vehicles. Even if the report proves to be untrue, it might be a good idea to watch what you say in cars if you happen to be in China.

(image and story via Epoch Times)

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