that was completely accurate, if understated.
Having worked with some of the underlying commercial cell and WiFi /BT technology in $DAYJOB that the NSA etc. then hook into, the simple fact is if a device has has a radio it's a bloody position-transmitting beacon, and algorithms to correlate activity of location beacons to find unwanted patterns (mass gatherings etc.) are so trivial they could be run en masse with 1990s era technology.
The simple fact is, in today's surveillance world, you just don't go up against the state, the state will always win, as a lot of people in China have learned the hard way (if you count understanding a problem right before you cease to be able to change behavior due to a sudden, permanent lack of brain activity "learning"). You have to change things via more legal means no matter how distasteful or seemingly impossible it is, and if your country is as fucked as China is at the moment you basically have to be willing to pick up and leave via whatever means are necessary.
All of that is a long way of saying if you don't want your country to go a certain way, you make absolutely bloody certain that you have done and continue to do everything within your power to stop it going full on surveillance authoritarian. Even if it takes every bit of resources you have, you make sure everyone knows what that means, make sure everyone you know is deeply uncomfortable carrying a phone without strict changes to law to stop the surveillance, etc. Once a country goes surveillance authoritarian it cannot be recovered by any means short of external takeover in a war (which could happen after internal economic collapse, or just over the natural course of time) -- this isn't something you fight from a couch, this is something that takes real, continued effort to drive the vote etc. as needed without putting yourself out of action with illegal activities.
What I wonder is if a human sized heat signature without a digital beacon (i.e. person with no cell phone) is now automatically flagged as a potential threat? Given how pervasive phones are and how few people understand they're carrying around a spy in their pocket, it would seem to be a potentially high quality signal.