For quite some time we’ve stressed how China is moving to dominate the world of artificial intelligence. The country has created a surveillance system that is capable of recognizing faces among other things. It’s something Chinese citizens will just have to live with, but what about visitors?
That’s right, the surveillance system is not just designed to track citizens, but visitors as well, which is why the government has decided to take things a bit further by giving police officers a pair of cool sunglasses with facial recognition technology inside.
Police officers in the country are using these glasses to spot passengers on a train or plan who are using fake IDs or attempting to avoid law enforcement. A report from People’s Daily says Chinese police officers have since captured 26 people for using fake IDs, and seven who are connected to major crimes.
Who’s Behind This Technology?
We understand that Beijing-based LLVision Technology Co. is the developer behind the glasses. Now, this company is known for selling wearable video cameras, but while those products are designed for anyone, the facial recognition glasses are not.
LLVisio says its technology during testing was able to pick out individuals from a database of over 10,000 people. Additionally, it can perform tasks in a mere 100 milliseconds, which is very fast and should give folks an idea of how powerful the hardware is.
That doesn’t mean the glasses will have the same performance during real-world testing. CEO Wu Fei in a statement to the Wall Street Journal, says performance would likely decrease in the real world due to environmental noise.
No Need For the Cloud
Now, what’s interesting about these facial recognition glasses, is the fact that they are not reliant on the cloud. Apparently, the database of individuals is kept inside the device instead of the cloud.
Going this route should make for faster facial tracking since there’s no back and forth communication with the glasses and the cloud.
Amnesty International’s William Nee, had the following to say in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.
“The potential to give individual police officers facial recognition technology in sunglasses could eventually make China’s surveillance state all the more ubiquitous.”
Will Other Countries Follow?
The ability to collect data from citizens and use it to track criminals and lawbreakers would definitely grab the attention of any government. It’s only a matter of time before Western nations adopt this technology on a huge scale to keep track of who’s coming in and who’s going out.
Looking back, it’s clear that folks are no longer talking about Edward Snowden and what he brought to light. In fact, many have said, “if you have nothing to hide, then you shouldn’t have a problem.”
With such a mentality, citizens of the United States and other parts of the world have already opened up themselves to mass government surveillance. We are slowly approaching an age where privacy is of no concern to citizens, and that’s quite disturbing.
What About the Ramifications?
Mass surveillance in China would definitely affect the ethnic minority groups that are placed under constant oppression by the government. If the government fails to handle this technology in a way that doesn’t go well overboard, then there’s always the chance for ethnic minority groups to lash out in violence.
Handling a civil war at this time in no something the Chinese government would want, not with the world watching its every move.