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Which Country has the MOST CCTV Cameras in the World?

We live increasingly in a digital world where technology advances faster than ever. This is particularly true of surveillance technology. National governments are driving the rapid growth of this area, as they seek to monitor their citizens more effectively, often in the interests of security. The commercial sector has also been quick to adopt this technology, and it’s now standard practice for businesses to use surveillance tech. For example, if you go to any shopping mall in the western world, you will find yourself captured on video from the moment you enter to the moment you leave.

Closed-circuit television (CCTV) remains the most commonly used method of achieving this surveillance, although we are seeing new types of security cameras emerge, from flying drones to wearable tech, including the body-worn video (BWV) used by many police forces around the world.

So which country has the most CCTV cameras? This is a difficult question to answer, and impossible to answer with 100% accuracy, due to several factors:

  1. the political sensitivity of revealing such information, the sheer speed with which new CCTV is installed (especially in developing countries)
  2. the amount of cameras installed in the private sector, many of which are not accounted for statistically.

It is safe to say, however, that China currently has the largest CCTV network in the world, and by a wide margin.

As recently as 2016, China had a reported 176 million surveillance cameras in operation, with plans to increase this number to a staggering 626 million by 2020. Beijing, the Chinese capital, already proudly claims to have 100% CCTV coverage of its public spaces.

This is, in effect, a state project, with many cameras in China using sophisticated tech AI and facial recognition to keep track of its citizens. For comparison, it’s estimated that the USA, China’s nearest rival in surveillance technology, has around 40 million CCTV cameras.

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