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No Place To Hide

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Well, this is mighty confidence-building:

Chinese police say they used facial recognition to identify, then arrest a man attending a crowded concert in Nanchang, China’s third largest city. South China Morning Post reports that security cameras equipped with the software pinpointed the man out of the estimated 50,000 other people also in attendance at the concert.

Identified only by his last name, Ao, the 31-year-old was reportedly attending a show by Hong Kong superstar Jacky Cheung with his wife and friends last week. Law enforcement approached him soon after the concert started. Police said he was wanted in connection to an “economic crime.”

In China, face recognition is being used in train stations to find human traffickers, in airports as passengers board domestic and international flights, and, soon, perhaps even on street corners to deter jaywalking. While a purported boon to public safety, privacy experts have long rallied against face recognition in public places because simply being in the space means being matched against criminal databases and other watch lists.

Face matching is both instant and invisible, making its potential abuses particularly insidious. Journalists and protestors can be targeted by the same technology as easily as any fugitive, and China has been accused of using face recognition to surveil its Muslim ethnic minority. As it moves to empower its AI to watch most of its population of two billion people, China’s ultimate goal is to ensure no one’s just a face in the crowd.

Good thing we’ll never have to worry about that technology coming to America. Ahem.


The data we share with companies online has become a hot-button issue, but new technologies could soon be scanning us as we go about our day.

That’s the claim made by a neuroscientist, who believes that devices in the real world will start gathering unprecedented levels of information about us.

Our bodies give off various signals that can be scanned and analysed by advanced computer systems, revealing everything from our current mood to our overall health.

In a similar way to wearable gadgets already available, future devices could be set up throughout public spaces to harvest this valuable bio-data.

Because they are part of our surrounding environment there will be no way for us to opt out or ditch the technology and new regulations will be needed, she warns.

The claims were made during a presentation given by Dolby Labs’ chief scientist Poppy Crum, who has spent the past few years studying people’s reactions as they watch films, at the Ted 2018 conference in Vancouver.

Forthcoming book from me: The Benedict Option 2020: This Time, Let’s Head For The Hills.


about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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