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article imageGrowth of facial recognition software in China

By Tim Sandle     Mar 25, 2018 in Technology
Of all the counties in the word, China appears to be making the greatest use of facial recognition software, both in the public and private spheres. A new report charts the growth of image scanning systems that aim to improve security.
According to CBI Insights, China has made no secret of its plans to become the world’s first fully ‘artificial intelligence state’ — at least in terms of using artificial intelligence technology to monitor its citizens. For example, in 2017, over 530 video surveillance patents and more than 900 facial recognition patents were published in China. These include private market activity and government monitoring schemes.
The report is titled “Top AI Trends To watch in 2018”. Here it is noted that China’s artificial intelligence startup scene took nearly 50 percent of the dollars going to AI startups globally in 2017, surpassing the U.S. for the first time for share of dollars. Most of this investment is in facial recognition technology.
As an example, The Verge reports on how Chinese police have begun using facial recognition sunglasses to track citizens. The glasses, controlled by a connected mobile unit, are currently being tested at train stations in the “emerging megacity” of Zhengzhou, where they have been deployed to scan travelers and look for ‘less desirable’ members of the population.
In a different city, Shenzhen, Chinese authorities have launched a surveillance system loaded with facial recognition, artificial intelligence, and a big database. This is in order to crack down on offences like jaywalking. Through image recognition, the system can access information relating to pedestrians such as their names and social identification numbers. This personal information can be rapidly displayed on LED screens installed at Shenzhen road junctions.
For a different use, some parts of China use the so-termed “Smile to Pay” feature. This is operated by Alibaba’s Ant Financial affiliate and it allows users take a selfie in order to authenticate a digital payment. Furthermore, facial recognition in China also allows students to enter university halls, travelers to board planes, and employees to enter office premises. Such technology does away with the need for with ID cards.
Other uses include:
College entrance exams in many regions deploy facial and fingerprint recognition to ensure test takers are the real students.
One kindergarten reportedly has more than 200 security cameras to protect against child snatching.
Some toilet paper dispensers use facial detection technology where rules are in place to limit each person to two feet of paper every nine minutes.
More is to come, according to Business Insider. China aims to build a national database that will recognize all citizens within three seconds. This is possible due to China’s state regulations and relatively weak privacy laws.
More about Facial recognition, China, Identity, Privacy
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