NYPD Using China-made Facial Recognition Tech in Secret Surveillance Program, Report

“…South China Morning Post suggests that the NYPD’s use of China-made facial recognition technology is extensive and surreptitious.”

NYPD Using China-made Facial Recognition Tech in Secret Surveillance Program: Report

The same facial recognition surveillance technology being used by Chinese authorities has also been embraced by the New York Police Department, according to a new report from the South China Morning Post.

Citing an industry report, the Chinese company involved, and a Chinese government document, South China Morning Post suggests that the NYPD’s use of China-made facial recognition technology is extensive and surreptitious. Its report offers the example of a subsidized housing project in the Bronx, whose operator has been using the technology since 2014 to monitor residents in public areas in the building, with the NYPD able to directly access the network.

The technology is provided by Hikvision, whose ‘Sky Net’ technology (recently renamed ‘Pingan Chengshi’, or ‘Safe Cities’) has been widely deployed for state surveillance in China. Applying facial recognition technology to security camera feeds, Chinese authorities seek to identify fugitives and track persons of interest, and even to automatically identify and fine jaywalkers.

South China Morning Post’s report comes after last year’s explosive controversy concerning Amazon’s sale of facial recognition technology to police authorities in the US, the revelation of which prompted an outcry from privacy and civil rights advocates. The NYPD’s use of this same kind of technology is being done with minimal transparency, and given that it’s sourcing it from a Chinese firm that also supplies one of the most intrusive surveillance states in the world, it could trigger even greater controversy with its disclosure.

Source: South China Morning Post

January 14, 2019 – by Alex Perala