Railway police in Zhengzhouu, China have been making more arrests lately, picking up people with fake ID’s and even capturing wanted criminals. It’s not that they’re suddenly more motivated, but that they’ve been better equipped.
Images courtesy: People’s Daily
You see the officers have been outfitted with new eyewear, glasses with cameras and facial recognition capabilities, and they’ve been using them to screen passengers on the fly, according to Chinese publications.
In the season of the Chinese New Year, one of the country’s busiest travel periods, the new tech has become invaluable for security personnel on the ground. Officials expect more than 389 million train trips during the Spring Festival, and just between February 1 to March 12.
The glasses look a lot like the Google Glass demoed long ago, with a camera mounted on the frame. It’s connected to a police database of criminals, allowing the railway police to pick them out from the middle of a crowd. Since first trying out the eyewear earlier this year, Zhengzhou police say they’ve nabbed seven people suspected of crimes ranging from human trafficking to hit-and-run accidents.
This is in addition to new “face swiping” technology implemented in many major Chinese cities recently. Like an electronic passport, travellers have to scan their travel documents at kiosks that verify them using facial recognition within a few seconds.
But the unnerving security doesn’t end there. China is also reportedly developing a government database to store facial recognition data for all of its 1.3 billion citizens. If that sounds like the start of a sci-fi thriller to you, that’s because it absolutely is bonkers. There’s so much mischief people can do if they ever manage to hack into a bank of everyone’s faces and linked IDs. Let’s just hope the Chinese also have a handle on how they’re going to secure it.