Police in China have introduced mobile facial-recognition units that can be mounted right on officers’ glasses.
With the high-tech spy specs, China — already a leader in deploying spying technologies based on artificial intelligence — could expand surveillance to allow police to look into places fixed cameras aren’t scanning, according to The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the development.
The devices were hailed in state media ahead of Lunar New Year travel this week, getting first-time use by police in train stations and airports, the Journal reported.
This is not Google Glass, but facial recognition glass connected to Chinese police database. Deployed to a Zhengzhou railway station 5 days ago, it has detected at least 7 fugitives and 26 fake ID holders. #surveillance pic.twitter.com/eXrzRgORam
— FAN Wenxin (@xinwenfan) February 6, 2018
The devices have already helped railway police at Zhengzhou’s East Railway Station capture seven people wanted in connection with major criminal cases, and 26 others who were traveling using other people’s identities, the People’s Daily reported.
Beijing-based LLVision Technology Co. worked with police departments in Henan, the eastern province of Shandong and the northwestern region of Xinjiang for a year to develop the devices, according to LLVision Chief Executive Wu Fei.
“It gives you the ability to check anywhere,” Wu said, the Journal reported.
“By making wearable glasses, with AI [artificial intelligence] on the front end, you get instant and accurate feedback. You can decide right away what the next interaction is going to be.”
Unlike many fixed-camera facial-recognition systems that remotely connect cameras to vast facial databases stored in the cloud, the police glasses are wired directly to a hand-held device that contains an offline database—allowing them to work more quickly, the Journal reported.
According to the Journal, the far western region of Xinjiang, where authorities are increasingly tightening surveillance around the majority Muslim population, is turning into a laboratory for testing high-end spying technologies.