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Facial recognition to track citizens. A MUST read!

The Bob Pritchard Column

In just 2 years, there will be 570 million surveillance cameras — that’s nearly one camera for every two citizens.  At the same time, China is a building a national database that will recognize any citizen within three seconds. Thanks to a large population and minimum privacy laws, police and private companies have led the way in developing surveillance technology that is now being used to track travel, shopping, crime, and even toilet paper usage.
These are some of the ways people’s faces are being used for surveillance:
  • One of the most common facial recognition programs is Face++ which is used to manage entry everywhere from Beijing’s train stations to Alibaba’s office building.
  • Alibaba has also developed its own systems that will soon be used in Shanghai’s metro to identify commuters via their face and voice
  • Facial recognition cameras are installed at intersections to take pictures of people crossing roads or offending traffic rules.
  • Railway police already use facial recognition sunglasses that can identify travelers within 100 milliseconds. Since their introduction earlier this year, they’ve been used to identify a number of criminals.
  • A number of provinces photograph jaywalkers and, after its matched to a police database, post the photo, ID number and home address on public screens. Offenders can spend 20 minutes helping a traffic officer or pay a $3 fine to have the image removed.
  • College entrance exams across the country use facial and fingerprint recognition to ensure test takers are the real students.
  • After a spate of kidnappings, some childcare centers only unlock doors to faces registered in its system. One kindergarten has more than 200 security cameras as well as a police station on campus.
  • Even toilet paper dispensers use the technology, limiting each person to 2 feet of paper every nine minutes. Apparently a number of patrons kept stealing from public bathrooms.
  • KFC store uses “Smile to Pay” technology.
  • Customers can also use facial recognition to pay for purchases at unmanned convenience stores
  • Alibaba has a chain of cashless stores called Hema. Shoppers use their face and phone number to approve payments from their Alipay account.
  • Customers of China Merchants Bank scan their faces instead of their bank cards at some 1,000 ATMs.
  • Xiaozhu, the Airbnb of China, has smart locks that open after scanning renters’ faces
  • A car vending machine by Alibaba’s Tmall even uses state-of-the-art recognition technology.
  • Insurance firm Taikang verifies the identities of customers by their face
  • Police in Chongqing use surveillance software and in the first 40 days, it identified 69 criminals
  • SenseTime’s software tracks customers as they move around a department store.
  • Xinjiang has more than 40,000 surveillance cameras used to track and monitor the Uyghur ethnic minority.
  • To enter the Hotan bazaar in Xinjiang, shoppers must have their face scanned and cross-referenced to their national identification card.
  • Even petrol stations in Xinjiang require drivers be identified by facial recognition cameras before filling up.
  • In other areas of China, police use hand-held systems to recognize faces.
  • Police in Kashgar now have smartphones that scan faces and match with IDs
  • China’s Police have an SUV with a 360-degree camera that can scan every face within 200 feet while driving up to 75mph. The driver is alerted to any database match.
Anyone still think we are winning the technology race?
Posted on April 16, 2018

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