During one of the most chaotic mass migrations in the Chinese calendar, Chinese police have been equipped with some high-tech gadgetry to help seek out criminals on the ground. Facial recognition and tracking of the general public is already in use worldwide through CCTV and other video recording technologies, however these techniques are often debilitated by blurry imagery and slow reaction times - meaning once criminals are identified they have already moved out of sight. China are enhancing these techniques by providing their front-line officers with the same technology on the ground.
Sunglasses with built-in facial recognition can quickly scan passers-by and identify both wanted criminals and suspects, with the Chinese police already confirming the capture of 7 major crime suspects and 26 false identity travellers using the glasses. The Lunar New Year migration in China is one of the largest, with millions of travellers making their way home to celebrate with family. The sunglasses are currently being tested by Chinese police in Zhengzhou and will most likely be rolled out elsewhere judging by their current success.
Despite the celebrated success by China Police, many are worried about the effects of such surveillance on general privacy and freedom in the country – with an estimated 600 million CCTV cameras in China by 2020, each equipped to track citizens wherever they go. This type of surveillance is great for catching criminals, but doesn’t rule out your everyday, rule-abiding citizen. The cameras are uploaded with a database of over 10,000 criminals, however there’s been no comment on the accuracy of the recognition – especially in large crowds of people. These types of technologies also provide new powers to government forces and police officers without strict regulations, with the strong possibility of misuse and misconduct in the near future.
With more and more technologies ending up in the hands of government and forces of power, it seems like George Orwell’s 1984 and the notion of ‘big brother’ might not be too far away.
Source: The Verge