Railway police in Zhengzhou, the capital of central China’s Henan province, are the first in the country to start using facial recognition eyewear to screen passengers, the online arm of Party newspaper People’s Daily reported Monday. Security personnel at Zhengzhou East Railway Station donned the new accessories ahead of the Chinese New Year travel rush to help them verify passengers’ identities, spot impostors — and even catch suspected criminals.
Spring Festival, or the lunar new year, is one of the busiest travel periods in China, putting immense pressure on the country’s transportation networks. This year, officials expect more than 389 million train trips alone during the peak travel period from Feb. 1 to March 12, when people return home for the holidays.
The glasses — which resemble Google Glass — are connected to a police database that can match passengers with criminal suspects. Since Zhengzhou railway police started using the eyewear earlier this year, they have identified seven people suspected of crimes ranging from human trafficking to hit-and-run accidents, according to the report.
In a similar move, train stations in major Chinese cities including Zhengzhou introduced a “face-swiping” check-in service during the lunar new year holiday in 2017. Similar to e-passport services at airports, small kiosks at boarding areas use facial recognition technology to scan passengers and their travel documents in just a few seconds.
China has pursued an ambitious plan to develop its AI sector in recent years, with police departments across the country implementing facial recognition technology. Shanghai has used it to identify and fine traffic violators, while in coastal Qingdao, facial recognition helped police arrest dozens of suspected criminals at the city’s famous beer festival.
If you don’t allow your face to be scanned, you will not be able to travel, it would appear. Hmm.
State police can stand outside of churches and usual facial recognition software to determine who is going into them and coming out of them, you know.
And if the Chinese have this technology, how long before it is introduced into the US, under the pretext of keeping the public safe? How long will it be before certain religious and political beliefs are deemed “unsafe” to the public, and those who espouse them monitored?
How many Americans would support it? I think we’d be surprised.
This stuff writes itself — on the wall, with an invisible finger.