China Police Officers Use Facial Recognition Glasses To Catch Criminals

Saturday, 10 Feb, 2018

Police in China are now using hi-tech 'smart glasses' which use facial recognition to pick out suspects in a crowd - and they have already led to seven arrests.

Critics have already voiced fears that China's communist party will use the glasses to identify dissidents.

"The glasses - which resemble Google Glass - are connected to a police database that can match passengers with criminal suspects", said a report in the People's Daily online. There is no word on if the special glasses will remain in use after the holiday travel season or if they might be rolled out to more officers.

The glasses were issued to officers stationed at the Zhengzhou East high-speed rail station in Henan province.

Suffice it to say, the government didn't take much notice of this well-meaning intervention, and pressure upon the country to take human rights more seriously has eased up considerably in recent years as it becomes the world's leading economic force.

The special glasses are now being used by four officers patrolling a crowded train station in Zhengzhou, Henan province during Chinese New Year, the busiest time for the country's transport system.

For as long as it has been around, there have been concerns over the privacy implications that come with facial recognition systems.

CCTV is also used in China by private organizations to monitor workers and mine human data, a practice that has attracted criticism from activists as an abuse of human rights. The mobile devices could expand the reach of that surveillance, allowing authorities to peer into places that fixed cameras aren't scanning, and to respond more quickly. If there is a false match problem, the consequences could be awful. This is according to a report by the Chinese news portal Guancha.

"On the one hand, as the Chinese government claims, this technology could indeed potentially help decrease crime at train stations, and improve public safety". This system is largely powered by artificial intelligence and facial recognition technology. And though CCTV cameras are prevalent in the country, blurry resolutions make it hard for facial recognition technology to be applied.

So the next time, you see a police officer in black tinted glasses be aware of them.

Beijing-based LLVision Technology Co., who built the glasses had its chief executive Wu Fei explain that the company worked with local police to develop the technology to suit their needs.