Surveillance in China means the authorities know pretty much everything about you whenever you appear on camera. Now police there have a new weapon with which to fight crime and capture criminals: high-tech glasses that allow for facial recognition at the push of a button.
As the Hong Kong Free Press reports, in the city of Zhengzhou, four police officers have started wearing these glasses when patrolling the city's east station. There is a camera mounted above the left eye and the glasses are linked to a smartphone-like handheld device. When worn, an officer can look in the direction of an individual, take their photo, and have that person's face recognized and all their information brought up on the handheld.
The information is pulled from a central database the handheld can access and includes a person's name, gender, ethnicity, full address, and whether they have been charged with any crimes or have outstanding warrants. The police can also access an individual's internet usage. If they are staying away from home, that information is known, too.
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As you'd expect, the Chinese authorities view this as a huge positive in the fight against crime. It is claimed the glasses have helped to arrest seven suspects so far, whose crimes range from fake IDs to hit-and-run incidents and human trafficking. With that in mind, we should expect the glasses to be rolled out to an increasing number of police officers across China very soon.
With more and more business sectors adopting facial recognition for their customers (for example, banking and the leisure industry) you can see how effective this system could be in crowded locations. Of course, the next evolution for these glasses is removing the need to capture an image. Instead they will just continually capture faces, check details, and alert the officer if further action is required.
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