China has begun testing surveillance technology in its northwestern Xinjiang region that aims to predict an individuals’ behavior by reading their emotional state.
The technology uses cameras to scan people’s faces and ‘read’ their facial expressions in order to “identify criminal suspects by analyzing their mental state… to prevent illegal acts including terrorism and smuggling,” said Li Xiaoyu, a policing expert from Xinjiang.
Across China, officials are pushing to increase the amount of surveillance technology installed in public places like airports, subways and schools, to help identify criminals.
The northwestern Xinjiang region has been used by China as a testing ground for various biometric surveillance technologies in recent years. In September of this year, the U.S. released a blacklist of 28 Chinese entities barring them from purchasing equipment from American companies for their participation in the mass surveillance of the Xinjiang region’s minority muslim populations.
Though major tech companies like Google, Microsoft and Amazon are all reportedly working on their own forms of emotional recognition tech, the field has been criticized by some as a gimmick. ACLU senior policy analyst Jay Stanley recently told Axios “the science on emotion recognition is pretty bogus,” and some studies have shown that accurately linking emotional states to facial expressions “regardless of context, person, and culture” is difficult, if not impossible.
The emotion recognition tech was recently showcased at a tech expo held in the city of Shenzhen. China has also recently began testing the use of gait recognition technology, a growing biometric sector that can identify individuals with up to 99.3% accuracy by analyzing data collected from the way they walk.
November 5, 2019 – by Tony Bitzionis