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China Crime Databases Privacy Security Software Hardware

Police In China Are Scanning Travelers With Facial Recognition Glasses (engadget.com) 87

Baron_Yam shares a report from Engadget: Police in China are now sporting glasses equipped with facial recognition devices and they're using them to scan train riders and plane passengers for individuals who may be trying to avoid law enforcement or are using fake IDs. So far, police have caught seven people connected to major criminal cases and 26 who were using false IDs while traveling, according to People's Daily. The Wall Street Journal reports that Beijing-based LLVision Technology Co. developed the devices. The company produces wearable video cameras as well and while it sells those to anyone, it's vetting buyers for its facial recognition devices. And, for now, it isn't selling them to consumers. LLVision says that in tests, the system was able to pick out individuals from a database of 10,000 people and it could do so in 100 milliseconds. However, CEO Wu Fei told the Wall Street Journal that in the real world, accuracy would probably drop due to "environmental noise." Additionally, aside from being portable, another difference between these devices and typical facial recognition systems is that the database used for comparing images is contained in a hand-held device rather than the cloud."
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Police In China Are Scanning Travelers With Facial Recognition Glasses

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  • Glassholes! (Score:4, Funny)

    by freax ( 80371 ) on Thursday February 08, 2018 @06:06AM (#56088255) Homepage

    Police in China are now the new Glassholes.

  • Google and Facebook are already doing it with my own phone!

  • China leads the way (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DNS-and-BIND ( 461968 ) on Thursday February 08, 2018 @06:45AM (#56088339) Homepage

    Once again the fearful USA is left behind by the boldness of China in adopting and utilizing advanced technology. Under globalism, those who do not keep up are destined to be left behind in the dust. There is also a significant first-mover advantage as whoever adopts these technologies first realizes a distinct advantage over the timid ones who wait too long. The American response has been one of avoidance and evasion. Why? Because Americans seem to fear that if they stare at reality squarely, they will find reality staring back in a most discomforting way.

    A lot of smart people are starting to argue in favor of the China Model. [foreignpolicy.com] It avoids the pitfalls of American dumbocracy, of which the hazards are only too clear after the results 2016 election. Political meritocracy has a lot of upside, in fact a better word for it might be "vertical democratic meritocracy". Democracy works well at the lower levels of government. But, in a huge country, as you go up the political chain of command, the issues become more complex and mistakes become more costly. Thereâ(TM)s a need to institutionalize a system to select and promote leaders with superior qualities. China has it, and America is trying with all its might to pretend globalism doesn't exist and it can still get by with its antiquated system. Democracy on the bottom, experimentation in the middle, and meritocracy on top is a good way of thinking about how to govern a large country.

    • by TheDarkMaster ( 1292526 ) on Thursday February 08, 2018 @07:57AM (#56088477)
      Meritocracy don't work if the criterion for selecting who has the most merit is their bank balance or in which family he was born. Many people think they have merit when in fact they only got there because they have rich parents and rich friends.
      • Fortunately, that's not what the Chinese use. Officials rise on good performances. Compare this to the US system where officials either rise on advertising spending (elected government) or having went to an Ivy League school (unelected government).
        • by Anonymous Coward

          You obviously have no idea how the Chinese work:

          https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corruption_in_China
          https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elections_in_China

          You rise by who you know and who can buy off, nothing more.

    • by gtall ( 79522 )

      Political meritocracy is where a change of rulers causes the old clan running the show to become immediately unmeritorious and scheduled for re-education, the latter conveniently maxes out their remaining years among the quick as they are destined to be unmeritorious during this time.

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 ) on Thursday February 08, 2018 @08:39AM (#56088543) Journal
      What "of which the hazards are only too clear after the results 2016 election"?
      The US voted and the election was won. Every state had its vote counted.
      Give a good speech, have a good candidate and win the states needed.
      Re "China has" Communism that gave the world the Cultural Revolution https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]
      Re "promote leaders with superior qualities."? China was filling its university system with students who did not pass entrance exams. It's not "superior qualities" when the only question is about been loyal to the Communist party.
      So now China has to use facial recognition glasses to track people who would spread freedom and democracy.
      • by ttsai ( 135075 ) on Thursday February 08, 2018 @01:01PM (#56089843)

        Furthermore, the fatal flaw in the Chinese system is the inability to peacefully change leaders, governments, and laws. The current US president's tenure and his party's hold of much of governmental power will eventually end regardless of how much that president and party attempt to hold onto power. The US system allows the election of "undesirable" leaders but also provides a way to get rid of those undesirables. In the Chinese system, the undesirables never leave. The Chinese Communist Party has an unbreakable grip on the country. It remains to be seen if the current Chinese president will yield power at the traditional end of his terms or if he will adopt the Putin model of government.

  • Face recognition just isn't good enough yet for that kind of risk.
    They have way too high of a false positive rate, but odds are the higher ups will pull a coverup to hid that and claim great success instead.
    As to a portable version with much less processing power, it's just begging to be less accurate.
    Of course there will also be false negatives that will let wanted criminals get away, unless they're caught by the normal methods, but I'm more worried about the innocents that will be jailed.
    • Face recognition just isn't good enough yet for that kind of risk.
      They have way too high of a false positive rate, but odds are the higher ups will pull a coverup to hid that and claim great success instead.
      As to a portable version with much less processing power, it's just begging to be less accurate.
      Of course there will also be false negatives that will let wanted criminals get away, unless they're caught by the normal methods, but I'm more worried about the innocents that will be jailed.

      As long as positives are treated as "possible" suspects and not "definite criminals" false-positives aren't a problem. Just check their ID and see if they are the right match or not. I can leap to assumptions about how police in various countries might act, but I can't say with any accuracy.

      I'm not opposed to police using facial recognition glass to find suspects in a crowd; I am opposed to them (or videos) being used as a log of who went where- if non-criminals are tracked and logged with their movements

    • China seems willing to sacrifice innocent people for "societal improvement" or whatever euphemism they're using..

  • Go to the source. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Thursday February 08, 2018 @07:02AM (#56088391)

    Engadget just reposted what Gizmodo wrote which reposted what WSJ and Sixth Tone wrote.

    These are the real sources:
    https://www.wsj.com/articles/c... [wsj.com]
    http://www.sixthtone.com/news/... [sixthtone.com]

    • I started with the WSJ article but submitted the Engadget link because the WSJ is paywalled.

    • by swell ( 195815 )

      I don't suppose that /. gets a kickback from various favored links(?) Over and over, regardless of the story, they find a link to NYT, Engadget, etc. Almost never is the link to a source.

  • The technology will inevitably make it so that people have no privacy or secrets whatsoever. The technology will soon allow every member of the society to know the location and activities or every other member. Everyone will know others' secrets, and then there will be no secrets between the humans, except those in their thoughts.

    The next logical step is that we either adopt telepathic theology or evolve to become a race of telepaths, that like in the Star Trek.

    • Are you kidding! Our elites will never allow this system to survive them. They're getting their asses kicked right now from leaked emails and documents, and you'll be damn sure this kind of crap doesn't happen again.
    • by gtall ( 79522 )

      "telepathic theology"...media saturation by Franklin Graham and His Merry Band of Rich White Folk?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The technology will soon allow every member of the society to know the location and activities or every other member.

      No. No it won't. It will allow 'the authorities' and the 1% to know everything about everyone else. This information will not be available to the rest of us.

    • Everyone will know others' secrets, and then there will be no secrets between the humans,

      I know what you did last summer.

  • by houghi ( 78078 )

    Luckily they are not in the cloud, because that would be unsafe. It is much better to give each individual the database, because what could go wrong?

    Or does 'In the cloud' now means 'On a server'? (Was this an example of a rhetorical question).

    Not looking at the privacy issues here, just at the technical side of it. Having it on a dedicated server should be a lot safer. The time might go a bit up, but not to seconds. That way when one gets into the wrong hands, it will not be able to abuse it. For a crimina

    • Some notes for you:

      1) Bandwidth is an issue. Live video streaming from every cop wearing these simply is not practical.

      2) Power is an issue. Sure, it takes some cycles to do the processing, but in a portable unit you don't need to constantly transmit a high bandwidth stream.

      3) Encrypted devices that don't allow direct reading of the database and will lock every 12 hours are possible. And they have a very limited hardware interface, so you'd need someone to steal the device and crack it to get more than a

  • by iTrawl ( 4142459 ) on Thursday February 08, 2018 @08:45AM (#56088563)

    Can I get one with a reduced database containing just my friends and people I've met a few times? I need the thing to project a HUD onto my retina and tell me who they are and maybe some metadata about what they do and how we met. People don't like it when I walk past them like they don't exist, and I don't realise I'm doing it.

    • This exact use would be so awesome for me. I'm OK with faces, but linking them to names is really, really difficult for me unless I know the person very well... which can make business meetings awkward for me.

      If it could be made more subtle, I'd love a set of camera/HUD glasses that would remind me of people's names and where I know them from.

    • With men outnumbering women by some margin due to China's population policies, I'd be wary that this technology allows lonely police officers to woo girls. Officer sees attractive woman, looks her up online and instantly knows all her secrets from social media. Creepy.

  • China really took the Orwellian path.
  • All Chinese look alike and even trained Chinese policemen need machine assistance to tell them apart ....

    I remember a classic sketch from some old comedy show. Two white guys rob a convenience store. The police ask the Korean shop owner, "Did they have face mask?", Kim says, "no". "Can you identify them?" Kim says, "White guy all look same same"

  • by VeryFluffyBunny ( 5037285 ) on Thursday February 08, 2018 @01:30PM (#56090053)
    To me this looks like an example of how these technologies should be used. Rather than for illegal dragnet surveillance and profiling that turns everyone into a suspect, they're using facial recognition to help cops do what they've always done: Look for criminal suspects for whom the police already have probable cause or an arrest warrant. It's probably a lot cheaper and easier to manage than the massive databases of innocent citizens that the NSA, CIA, FBI, DEA, etc., are collecting and is far less likely to suffer from false positives and negatives.
    • Turns out I was wrong. The Chinese seem to be using this to identify political activists, religious minorities, and people with debts. That's going a lot further than probable cause or warrants. Seems China's just as bad with tech as every other government :(
  • I would expect an authoritarian government to use all the tools at its disposal to run the country efficiently. Its not something I want to see happen in the US, but seems in line with Chinese policies and not particularly evil.

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