Chinese Police Use Face-Scanning Smartglasses to Surveil Crowds of Travelers

Police in China are now using face-scanning smartglasses to identify criminals in public.Chinese Police Use Face-Scanning Smartglasses to Surveil Crowds of Travelers

Designed by Beijing-based LLVision, the devices look like sunglasses, but feature a small camera at the top of one lens. Software scans faces captured in the video feed, and those are then compared to an offline database in a synced, smartphone-like mobile device. The system allows officers to implement facial recognition in real-time in public areas.

The technology has been deployed at a railway station in Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province, for the start of Chunyun, a period during which large crowds of people return to their hometowns for the start of the Lunar New Year holiday. Government authorities claim that the technology has already enabled the arrests of seven wanted criminals and 26 individuals who were caught traveling with fraudulent identity documents.

It’s another example of the already striking prominence of facial recognition technology in China, where extensive state surveillance has come under criticism from human rights advocates, notably with respect to the particularly egregious programs in place in Xinjiang, an area with a large population of the country’s Uyghur muslim minority. But the use of real-time facial recognition for public surveillance is also on the rise in the west, with recent examples like South Wales Police using a camera-mounted police car to scan crowds.

Sources: South China Morning Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Japan Times

February 7, 2018 – by Alex Perala