In preparation for the Lunar New Year, Chinese cops are ramping up their crowd-surveillance abilities with facial-recognition sunglasses.
China is already a leader in its use of surveillance technology, but the new glasses “could expand the reach of that surveillance, allowing authorities to peer into places that fixed cameras aren’t scanning, and to respond more quickly,” reports the Wall Street Journal.
Chinese media says the glasses will be especially helpful during busy times like the Lunar New Year (Feb. 16th), when hundreds of thousands of Chinese travel to visit family and friends. This year, officials predict there will be more than 389 million train trips between February 1st and March 12th.
The eyeglass-mounted facial recognition camera is capable of “highly effective screening,” reports Chinese state media, and will help authorities find fugitives traveling under false pretenses. Railway police in Zhengzhou will be the first to start using the technology to screen passengers.
LLVision Technology worked with local police in Henan to develop the glasses. According to LLVision CEO Wu Fei, the glasses give a cop the “ability to check anywhere.” Each camera comes with AI that provides the wearer with “instant and accurate feedback.”
Unlike fixed-camera facial recognition systems, which are generally connected to an online facial database, the glasses are wired directly into a handheld device that functions as a portable police database. This allows them to work much faster. LLVision says the device can identify a person among a database of 10,000 suspects in as little as 100 milliseconds.
The new technology, unveiled late last year, has already helped Chinese cops find seven people wanted in connection with major crimes and over 20 others who were traveling under false identities.
“China monitors train and air travel, and sometimes people who are facing punishment for infractions will try to get around travel restrictions by using a borrowed identity,” reports the WSJ.
Like most methods of surveillance, the tiny cameras could also help the government track political dissidents. “The potential to give individual police officers facial-recognition technology in sunglasses could eventually make China’s surveillance state all the more ubiquitous,” warns William Nee, a researcher at Amnesty International.
China is a totalitarian state that does not respect individual rights.
Punchingbag Post has published numerous articles on China's surveillance operations.
As I wrote in December, big tech companies like Alibaba and Tencent are essentially forced to give the government access to their massive surveillance systems.
“Soon, a national facial recognition database will store information about the country’s 1.3 billion citizens, and be able to identify them within three seconds,” reports Sixth Tone.
Tencent monitors web content for unfavorable references to the Communist Party and foreign news stories that cast China in a negative light. Tencent’s messaging service WeChat is completely compromised - with numerous reports of suspended or deactivated accounts following government criticism.
Chinese citizens are blocked from accessing Facebook, Twitter, and most of Google’s services.
Meanwhile, Beijing plans to install 400 million CCTV cameras by 2020. There are already more than 170 million scattered throughout the country.
Editor's note: In America we have our own problem with NSA. This may very well be our future if we are not careful.