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University installs surveillance cameras in classrooms and dorms to ensure students work hard

Technically Incorrect: Wuchang University of Technology in China believes that it must monitor its students at all times, so that they become great techies.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


How the Chinese media show the camera system.

Cnhubei.com screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

As far as I was concerned, university was for playing sports and dancing with nurses.

Times have changed.

Students are supposed to study, which makes the inebriated behavior of some in American universities quite detrimental to national progress.

One Chinese university isn't having all that. It's installed $640,000 worth of surveillance cameras to make sure students are working.

You might mutter that, well, OK you can understand cameras in classrooms. Ah, but at Wuchang University of Technology in central China, the cameras are in the dorms too.

As the Guardian reports, the university has hired 100 people just to monitor the activity on these cameras.

Look! Johnny Ma is surfing the Web for porn! We must stop him!

Quoting an article on Chinese site Cnhubei, the Guardian says that the idea is to promote "good study habits."

How odd. I'd have thought the idea is to promote paranoia.

Wuchang University of Technology didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. You might imagine, though, that the school says it's working.

"After the cameras were installed the study environment improved a great deal," an unnamed employee told Cnhubei. "Phenomena such as playing with phones, napping or chatting during class have virtually disappeared."

Are these phenomena? Or are they mere natural human behavior?

Surely you can learn things from phones and chatting to people. And naps can be an essential companion to clearing your mind in order to absorb yet more utterly useless facts.

Naturally, some students are said to be uncomfortable at this new and very modern intrusiveness.

But isn't it merely another example of the belief held by many in authority that they have the right to surveil anyone?

Business owners increasingly use apps that tell them exactly where their employees are at all times. Countries are in on the fun too. The UK, for example, is estimated to have up to 9 million surveillance cameras.

Even high schools have been the subject of lawsuits after activating cameras on school-owned laptops during evening hours. Some US schools have long thought there was nothing wrong with it.

What sort of humans, though, emerge from such Big Brotherism?

Diminished ones, perhaps?