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Wanted man caught by facial recognition technology at pop concert in China

Signal of change / Wanted man caught by facial recognition technology at pop concert in China

By George Harding-Rolls / 26 Jul 2018

Chinese police have used facial recognition technology to arrest a man who was among a crowd of 60,000 concert goers.

Police say the man, who was wanted for “economic crimes,” was identified by cameras at the concert gates and was arrested by police shortly after he took his place.

China is a world leader in facial recognition technology and regularly reminds its citizens that its vast surveillance network makes it almost impossible to evade the authorities. Currently, an estimated 170 million CCTV cameras are already in place with some 400 million new ones expected to be installed in the next three years.

So what?

Police report that the suspect was “shocked” when he was arrested, with news footage reportedly revealing he would not have attended the concert had he known he could have been apprehended.  

Chinese government officials say the system is being used for the protection of citizens and that those who have nothing to hide have nothing to fear. The eventual aim is to not only prevent criminal behaviour but to predict it too.

How will this vast surveillance network affect daily life in China? What implications does the roll out of this system have for human-rights and democracy activists? Will this help crackdown on crime and corruption or does this give too much power to the Chinese state?


What might the implications of this be? What related signals of change have you seen?

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