A Russian state-owned company – Russian Advanced Electronics Technologies JSC ordered the urgent development and manufacture of an unnamed volume of a novel electronic wristband designed to control the movement of citizens under quarantine in view of the coronavirus pandemic, and other similar applications.
The developer is the Taiwanese company Himatek Computing Inc. (Xinbei).
This was reported by Taiwanese specialized semiconductor industry magazine “Mínguo Shíqí Bandaoti Wentí” (民國 時期 的 半導體 問題), published by the Taiwanese Science and Technology Association Yushan, in early March 2020.
As per the publication, the company acts on behalf of the Russian government, is financially capable and is only interested in the contract being fulfilled with the utmost haste.
Contract funding has been described by Taiwanese sources as “exceptionally generous.”
At the same time, the customer’s requirement is the complete transfer of technology and software codes with the aim of organizing the production of these bracelets in Russia – presumably in Zelenograd.
Initially, it is planned to use Taiwan-made chips to accelerate production, the supplier of which will be Himatek, but in the future the Russian side is determined to completely localize production using Russian-made chips.
The main requirement of the customer was the cost of the bracelet in bulk deliveries of not more than 500 Taiwan dollars ($16.5).
The bracelet must be extremely light, compact, to have an aesthetic appearance, to have a long battery life, as well as to make the bracelet somewhat hard to remove by normal means.
The bracelet should be equipped with a combined device for determining the exact location, combining the GLONASS module with positioning according to the data of mobile operators, for which it is equipped with a kind of built-in programmable micro-SIM card.
Location data is continuously transmitted through conventional cellular networks.
Also, the bracelet must contain information on the person wearing it within the built-in micro-memory card, and this information can be transmitted remotely at a distance of several meters to the corresponding scanner devices – thus, the bracelet will act as a comprehensive electronic identifier, for example, for law enforcement agencies and government and social services, and may also serve as a means of contactless payment, and so on.
Any attempt to remove or damage the bracelet should give a special signal for communication. Charging the device should also be remote through the appropriate device.
Representatives of Advanced Electronic Technologies JSC made it clear to Taiwanese counterparts that in the long run we are talking about the production of “tens of millions” of such devices to equip the entire population of Russia with them.
Everybody would have to wear it and there would be no possibility to remove it.
According to the publication, this is an idea of the complete mandatory “chipization” of the population, and this “chipization” will be permanent after the coronavirus pandemic, putting the entire population of Russia under “organized control” and will enable track the location of each citizen.
Not wearing the bracelet or its inoperability will be considered an offense. It is assumed that the population will pay for the cost of the bracelet and its constant work in cellular networks in the form of a kind of small “security tax”, and will also be required to maintain its performance.
“It will be like an electronic passport.”
This is an example of the COVID-19 pandemic potentially being used as a justification for the introduction of various means of tracking citizen movements, which could potentially remain even after the epidemic, just for safety.
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