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  • Improving lives,...

  • ...increasing connectivity across the world.

  • That's the great promise offered by data-driven technology.

  • [Protests]

  • But in China, it also promises greater state control and abuse of power.

  • [Protests]

  • This is the next groundbreaking development in data driven technology:...

  • ...facial recognition.

  • And in China you can already withdraw cash,...

  • ...check-in at airports,...

  • ...and pay for goods, using just your face.

  • The country is the world's leader in the use of this emerging technology.

  • And China's many artificial intelligence startups...

  • ...are determined to keep it that way in the future.

  • Companies like YITU.

  • We're pioneering...

  • ...Artificial Intelligence research and innovation,...

  • ...in the hope of creating a safer, faster, and healthier world.

  • [Chinese]

  • YITU is creating the building blocks for a smart city of the future,...

  • ...where facial recognition is part of everyday life.

  • This could even extend to detecting what people are thinking.

  • Facial recognition: they can read people's emotions,...

  • ...and we are actually now working on these innovative demonstrations and technology.

  • But the Chinese government has plans to use this new biometric technology...

  • ...to cement its authoritarian rule.

  • The country has ambitious plans to develop a vast national surveillance system,...

  • ...based on facial recognition.

  • It'll be used to monitor its 1.4 billion citizens...

  • ...in unprecedented ways.

  • With the capability of tracking everything, from their emotions... to their sexuality.

  • The primary means will be a vast network of CCTV cameras.

  • A 170 million are already in place,...

  • ...and an estimated 400 million new ones will be installed over the next three years.

  • The authorities insist this program will allow them to improve security for citizens,...

  • ...and if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.

  • But not everyone is convinced.

  • [Chinese]

  • Hongshen Kwai is a former magazine editor.

  • He was ousted by the government.

  • He feels like he's under constant surveillance.

  • [Chinese]

  • Already the authorities are using facial recognition to name and shame citizens.

  • Even for minor offenses, like jaywalking.

  • In Beijing,...

  • ...they're using the technology to prevent people...

  • ...stealing rolls of loo paper from public toilets.

  • And across China, police officers are now trialing sunglasses and body cameras,...

  • ...loaded with facial and gesture recognition technology.

  • It's helping them to identify wanted suspects in real-time.

  • What worries some people here...

  • ...is that, as the technology develops, so too does the capacity for it to be abused.

  • [Chinese]

  • Some of those most at risk in this hyper-surveillance future...

  • ...are the ethnic minorities in China.

  • In Xinjiang province, the Chinese government is wary of the separatist threat...

  • ...posed by the Muslim Uyghur population.

  • According to local NGOs,...

  • ...an estimated 1 million Uyghurs...

  • ...are being detained indefinitely in secretive internment camps,...

  • ...where some are being subject to abuse.

  • It's been called the largest mass incarceration of a minority population in the world today.

  • The authorities are using facial recognition cameras to scan people's faces before they enter markets.

  • The system alerts authorities if targeted individuals stray 300 meters beyond their home.

  • In the future, the government plans to aggregate even more data,...

  • ...and build a predictive policing programme...

  • ...that imposes even tighter controls here.

  • Without checks and balances,...

  • ...China will keep finding new ways to violate the human rights of its citizens.

  • What's already happening in Xinjiang is a warning the rest of the world must heed.

Improving lives,...

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B1 INT UK facial recognition facial recognition technology chinese china

China: facial recognition and state control | The Economist

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    Yukiko   posted on 2018/12/16
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