China To Build Giant Facial Recognition Database To Identify Any Citizen Within Seconds

from SCMP

The goal is for the system to able to match someone’s face to their ID photo with about 90 per cent accuracy.

The project, launched by the Ministry of Public Security in 2015, is under development in conjunction with a security company based in Shanghai.

The system can be connected to surveillance camera networks and will use cloud facilities to connect with data storage and processing centres distributed across the country, according to people familiar with the project.

However, some researchers said it was unclear when the system would be completed, as the development was encountering many difficulties due to the technical limits of facial recognition technology and the large population base.

At present, similar systems operate on a smaller level, including police databases and city or provincial ID pools.

But these operate separately and are on a much smaller scale.

There is also a national database of police suspects and people of interest to the government.

These may continue to be used independently after the national system is established.

More here.

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39 Responses to China To Build Giant Facial Recognition Database To Identify Any Citizen Within Seconds

  1. Valerie Dorsett November 3, 2017 at 5:11 pm #

    When we were growing up we only saw any form of facial recognition scanning done in movies. Now facial scanning is no longer a prediction of the future, but is now part of the present. Apple has just realized the IPhone X, which uses facial recognition in order to unlock your phone. It seems as if whenever Apple does something it becomes mainstream and the new thing to do. Not only will other companies use facial recognition but also countries. China now wants to use facial recognition to match up someone’s face with his or her ID in only a matter of seconds. This will be done with the help of Public Security in Shanghai.
    There is no set date for when this type of technology will be ready to release to the public. When it does, China will be able to connect it to surveillance cameras where they will use cloud data storage to connect the faces. A similar type of system is already made but it is for the police and is on a much smaller scale. In order to identify everyone person in China, which is billions, it would take a very long time. There would also have to be some changes to the law. As of now the police system in place was only allowed for finding wanted individuals. In order to use this type of information system legally to billions of people, 1.379 billion to be exact in 2016, would take some hard work to get done. If the demand for this new type of facial identification goes up, then the process could be faster but not as much.
    Technology can do some crazy things these days. China is coming up with some brilliant ideas. The article writes, “With a smile or blink of the eyes to a camera, students can now enter their university halls, travelers can board planes without using a boarding pass and diners can pay for a meal at KFC,” which is something that is absolutely insane to imagine. Being hands-free would be a lot for efficient if we could get facial recognition to become this accurate. However, there are some concerns of course. Personally, I do not know the history of how often China has gotten hacked, but if they were to get hacked then it would release a lot of information. Not only would your personal information be released like your credit cards, but also your history on where you shop or where you go. This could be dangerous because someone would stalk you or get into your personal online accounts. They would definitely need to develop a strong sense of online security. Even some Chinese computer sciences experts are concerned. If any personal information was released on the internet, this could cause major issues. You also would have to make sure that the facial recognition is working efficiently so that no one could just pretend to be someone else. Especially if there are twins that look very similar.
    There needs to be improvements before this can be released. Accuracy of facial recognition definitely needs to increase. The article adds, “When a photo, gender and age range are inputted, the system is required to find a match within three seconds with an accuracy level higher than 88 per cent,” which is good but will have to probably go up to at least 95 percent. This also means that once every couple of years the Chinese citizens would have to go to the government and update their information on how they look with their age. I think that this is a good idea because you will not have to carry around as many objects around with you. However, this does raise some security and privacy issues, which will need to be addressed as the time comes.

  2. Piyush Patel November 3, 2017 at 8:32 pm #

    The Chinese government is the world’s hacking superpower as stated by a July 26, 2016 article from vice. In the recent years the Chinese government has been linked to hacking the US government, google and other major hacks. They have hacked the FDIC from 2010 to 2013 and American government officials tried to cover it up and this wasn’t the only time something like this has happened. China is now going to be their technological knowledge and power to able to identify any of their 1.3 billion citizens within three seconds with a 90% accuracy.
    As soon as I read the beginning of their article about their plans to implement this facial recognition system, I felt it was a breach of the citizens’ privacy. I believe that if someone choose to use a service like Facebook that uses facial recognition then it is ok to use that system to tag them in pictures or whatever the consumer is agreeing to. However, many citizens probably are against it because they feel it is an invasion of privacy. The article states that companies like KFC, dorm halls, and airports are taking the commercial application of facial recognition to a new level. Now you can order a meal, board a plane or enter your dorm with just a look at the camera. Even though china is not allowed to use it for commercial application under current regulations I’m sure regulations will change so they can make money by sharing the information gathered from the database with commercial sectors.
    The article talks about how sharing the data with commercial sectors under proper regulation would create new business opportunities but I believe it will cause more problems because then the data is at a higher risk of being stolen. Even though the Chinese government is much more technology advanced then the rest of the world there is still a large possibility that they will get hacked. The Ministry of Public Security stated “To download the whole data set is as difficult as launching a missile with a nuclear warhead. It requires several high-ranking officials to insert and turn their keys at the same time”, but I believe that there is always a backdoor so it can probably be done. Especially when they start to share the information with other companies/agencies. They stated that all the data including personal information is around 90 terabytes. Today a good internet connection at a household can get you 100mbps, therefor you can download all that information in 15 minutes. Most hackers probably have access to speeds much faster than that to the point where they can get all the information in less than a minute. As of now Invision, the company that is setting up the system, has not given a completion date but it can’t far. However, researcher that have tested the system so far have been disappointed with the 60-70% accuracy of the system. The system need work and shouldn’t be used on the public or given the commercial sectors.
    I believe that certain government agencies that make identification documents, keep track of criminals and other sensitive information should be able to use such a system. However, it shouldn’t be use to catch jaywalkers or been used on all public street because once information like that is being access by the wrong person it can put people’s personal information and lives at risk.

  3. Shiyun Ye November 3, 2017 at 8:48 pm #

    The article informed us that China is emphasizing on the development of facial recognition technology for public safety. It indicates that this technology will be the world’s biggest database as Chinese’s huge population and the accuracy rate may reach 90%. This plan sounds a really considerable and significant change not only to China but also to the globe as if this database is established, every Chinese will have a virtual identification somewhere on the internet while skilled hackers would find a way to break it and steal the information. Some politicians may want this information for the use in the future and it makes the database in a highly dangerous position. In the article, the worker for this project also indicates that this information can be saved in a hard drive even, which means the leak of this highly valuable information seems more possible. As stated in the article, now KFC in Hangzhou is applying facial recognition to pay for customers’ bills. What if this technology become prevail in the future while everyone’s face is so easy to be captured? It has the similar problem when IPhone X first released its new technology of facial recognition. There are so many potential problems on the infringement of privacy. With the easy access on people’s faces, virtual world’s criminals such as hackers or identification thief will find that it is much easier to get iPhone users’ data. In this case, the criminals are much easier to find the user’s personal information and even payment method directly. Moreover, the iPhone’s iCloud celebrity photo leaking scandal on August 31, 2014 decreased the iPhone’s reputation on protecting its users’ data, which raised the doubt on how will iPhone save the collections of the face recognition. On the other hand, what if the public facial recognition system is hacked, whom should we blame? Especially when facial recognition could supersede other personal identification methods that are used to make payments such as scanning fingerprints or QR codes on a mobile phone. Who should protect Chinese’s financial safety while they do not have a second choice but be collected data on their facial characteristics?
    Therefore, in my opinion, the using of facial recognition for public security is still a good idea, but needs to be enforced in a legal manner. Before the prevail of facial recognition technology or even before the invention of the technology, government should start initiate principles regulation of the use of facial recognition feature. In the article, it shows that some public lavatories in Beijing also use facial recognition so that the automatic dispensing machines will deny toilet paper to people who ask for it more than once within a given period. These actions are for good cause but the regulation behind them seem too weak because anyone can access into an automatic dispensing machine for data thieving. Moreover, anyone could take a photo and identify strangers at a party or on the street without their knowledge if the facial recognition feature gets extremely common and it is scary. When getting people’s information by just scanning their faces become persuasive in the future, it might can change people’s perspectives that accessing others’ data is a quite normal action. Therefore, the stalkers have a great excuse on constantly inspecting others. A famous TV series “Black Mirror” has demonstrated in one of their episodes that the updated technologies has created more conflicts among people because now they have more accesses on the information they normally could not have before. For example, in the episode, people do not watch movies anymore. They watch their own memories by a new technology called “memory stick” which is a small chip inserted behind people’s ears. It totally changes how people live their life and how they interact with others. Moreover, the “memory stick” is taking over their own power to control their life. Therefore, whether the feature of face recognition will success is still under inspecting.

  4. CS November 4, 2017 at 10:58 pm #

    Governments and businesses often have needs to classify citizens and customers respectively. Nationwide surveys about people’s demographics are collected for the sake of classification. Businesses use this mainly for marketing purposes, running with the idea that studying the customer is the best way to make a product. Governments can classify people for identifying people in legal situations. Entire databases are compiled so people can be easily identified based on things such as eye color, hair color, height, and skin color. Being able to scan someone’s face is just that concept taken to the next level.
    My first thoughts were that facial recognition did not really have practical application, but then I remembered how populated China is. With over a billion people densely packed into a nation, it is understandable why there would be a need for such technology. It would make it much easier for people to get where they need to be. For example, for employees that need to navigate through a dense work environment, facial recognition software would help ensure that only certain people are in certain areas. While ID’s and keycards could be stolen or lost, someone’s face is not cannot be so easily replaced or faked.

  5. DC November 7, 2017 at 12:42 pm #

    This article highlights a noteworthy security issue that will soon be introduced in China. This face recognition technology will be able to identify any Chinese citizen with an accuracy of about 90% in less than 3 seconds. Currently, this technology is to be used strictly for security and government purposes and is not to be applied commercially. However, future policies could change to allow commercial use of this technology. Perhaps, in the future, cameras with this technology will be placed at the entrance and within various stores or shops. Consumers who enter the store will be recognized and perhaps another database including their shopping history could be included in their profile. Store employees could use this profile to market merchandise that the consumer may be attracted to based on their shopping history. This would be similar to the pop-up adds that consumers see when on-line shopping, however now in real life.
    Another potential application of this technology could be to locate any individual of interest. This idea was proposed in a recent movie “The Circle” staring Emma Watson. In the movie, cameras with facial recognition technology were installed all over the world which gave the company (The Circle) eyes on everything. Whenever The Circle wanted to locate an individual, they would pull up the person’s profile and have the millions of cameras search for the person’s face. Once a camera had a match, the person’s location was determined. China’s facial recognition technology could lead to applications like this that would give the government power to find anyone they wanted to.
    A final note to make is that this technology is not 100% accurate. Therefore, it is not a foolproof way of identification. Perhaps this could be exploited and people could make masks or wear makeup to impersonate others. The accuracy of this technology would have to be improved for it to be a reliable identification tool.

    • Tanner Purcel February 2, 2018 at 1:30 pm #

      Facial Recognition is something that has been talked about for years, and it has finally become a reality. New apple phones are able to unlock your face or pay for something with just recognizing your face. This technology can be clearly be developed further, and China has already begun making those adjustments. The Chinese government will use clouds and other data to recognize their own citizens. The United States Military and Police Force are using technology like this to help them find wanted criminals; however, this is system is much different. This system will recognize all of its citizens. Under current legislation, China cannot use this technology for commercial use, but I am sure regulation will change. The article also talks about how places could use this to decide how much one pays. The example they use is a restaurant, and they will charge you based on how you look. This idea is calling for trouble, as there will definitely be race and gender problems occurring from this. The article also says that sharing the data with commercial sectors would create new business opportunities (like paying for stuff with facial recognition), but this technology could be dangerous as it proposes more problems because information can be stolen more easily. Technology isn’t 100% and there is a great chance that hackers will easily be able to steal information this way.
      The comparison to the movie “The Circle” is a good one. Facial recognition like this is dangerous, as the government will easily be able to find anyone at any time. People are already paranoid that the government is watching us all the time, and there are even jokes on the internet about the fbi watching us through our phone and computer cameras. This paranoia will be real with facial recognition like this. People will call for an invasion of privacy if it is used for all citizens. If it is just used under certain circumstances, like catching criminals, then it would be okay.

  6. Meghan Healy November 7, 2017 at 4:27 pm #

    In the United States, most people thought that the release of the iPhone X was scary and an invasion of our privacy given the new method of unlocking the phone. The iPhone X is unlocked through face recognition, meaning our smartphone has the ability of recognizing our face at any given time. However, with this innovation, our face is allegedly only stored in our phone’s data system. In China, they are building a facial recognition system that could identify anyone out of 1.3 billion people within 3 seconds. Surveillance cameras would use this system that has the goal of being able to match someone’s face to their ID photo with 90 percent accuracy.

    The system would also have the capability of identifying police suspects and people of interest to the government. According to the article, “The system was being developed for security and government uses such as tracking wanted suspects and public administration.” This new technology seems like a step forward in the right direction, since it would have the capacity to catch suspects and potentially reduce crime altogether.

    However, this system does not only recognize the faces of suspects or criminals. This system identifies the face of every person it sees. This means that various companies could have access to where we go and what we do. Certain regulations will not allow commercial application using information sourced from the database. While this use will not be allowed, it is alarming to think that it could potentially be used for that reason. As the article states, “Giving commercial sectors access to the database under proper regulation would create new business opportunities by helping to improve customer service”. This would also give a new meaning to targeted ads.

    Nevertheless, this innovation would make already simple tasks simpler. As the article states, “With a smile or blink of the eyes to a camera, students an now enter their university halls, travelers can board planes without a boarding pass and diners can pay for a meal at KFC.” This way of life might seem appealing to a lot of people, since it would make basic actions easier than they already are. We would be one step closer to living in the world of teleportation and flying cars that people living 100 years ago thought we would be in by now. This new technology would make life easier and many things more accessible. As a society, we are always seeking convenience, and what would take up the least of our time.
    However, this innovation seems to come with favoritism and inequality. With this system, some restaurants have offered discounts to customers based on a machine that ranks their looks according to an algorithm. Customers with characteristics that would be considered beautiful, such as symmetrical features, would get higher scores than those who do not have these “beautiful” characteristics. Those that get better scores get a cheaper meal.

    Another downside to this advancement is its susceptibility to identity theft. A person or organization could take a photo and identify strangers at a party or on the street without their knowledge. Although a network security vendor dismissed the possibility, it could be entirely possible. Nothing is designed with the intention of being hacked into or released, but it ends up being the case. Anything can be hacked into these days. These systems will inevitably be hacked into. What would seem to be a system that makes different tasks such as entering a building or paying for a meal easier could quickly turn into a system of identity theft. This could create an extremely dangerous world to live in. In a matter of seconds, a complete stranger could know exactly who we are by simply taking a picture of us in passing. Walking down the street could lead to are identity becoming available to a series of strangers. Even if it might not lead to identity theft, it is still an invasion of privacy. This new facial recognition database might seem like an upgrade in our society, but like all developments, it comes with drawbacks.

  7. Tianqi xu November 7, 2017 at 9:10 pm #

    About two months ago, I read a news about the department of security in China can identified citizens who walk in the street. I was surprised by this news, because it was hard to imagine that everyone’s information will be known only through the camera in the street. To be honest, I felt a little bit I do not have private in the public. However, government always have reason for people who they do this.
                This article is talking about China built a facial recognition system. First of all, it is well-known that China is one of the country where contains the most population. Therefore, it is a pretty tough task to build a such big system. According to this article that this system is not complete yet, since there are too many people in China and it cannot get picture of everyone to put into to the database, especially those people who live in the countryside.  If this database is complete, it may be the world’s biggest database. Moreover, the accuracy of this system is much higher than we expect. Almost 90 percent recognitions are correct. This database needs time to put more information into it and also by the development of this system the accuracy will increase in few years. Until now, this database can only used by the government for the social security or a method to find the criminals. One of the usage of this database is sent that information to the airport and it makes the workers easier to know is the person self or not. In result, people do not need to wait so long when they check and in the security check point.
    Based on the suggestion from the government, this database is not suitable for the commercial use at this time. Due to the safety concern, once it use in the commercial field it makes easier for those who try to do something bad. This database can be saved in a 10 TB mobile hard disk; therefore, it is very simply for anyone to copy from someone’s hard disk. Even this database is used by the department of security I do not really agree with their action, how could this database used by the commercial field? This is like exposing everyone in the daylight. This action is violate personal privacy. In Hangzhou, KFC are starting using facial recognition system to let customers pay for their bill. After using this new technic, customers are using less time to complete their ordering time which most of people think the world become more convenient. Nevertheless, do they think about other question – how about their privacy? Even though, there are some advantage for the commercial use according to this article such as the example of KFC. It is needed to consider very carefully doing so.
                It is not deniable that China is developing in the last few decades. Building such a giant database is a huge working and there is no other country could do the same. This is a huge movement for China, even though, sometimes people are one of the aspects that you need to think about.

  8. Juliana Martinez November 9, 2017 at 12:00 pm #

    Since China has the largest population in the world, it is safe to say that they require more population control methods than other countries. They not only need to control the rate at which its population grows, but also control its living population. For example, from 1979 to 2016, there had been the “one child per family policy”. It stated that families who decided to have one child would receive special benefits and those who have more would be taxed on their income or even lose their jobs. After the law was put in place, and other social forces such as peer pressure and spying on your neighbors were adopted, China’s population rate had a hug decline. Although these methods prevented the population form growing at a fast rate, it did not control the population at hand. With such a large population, China has to find ways of keeping track of them and create efficient ways of getting things done. The best way for China to increase efficiency is by developing its technology to help make the lives of its citizens much easier, for example the creation on face recognition devices.
    Although these devices may be useful for crime purposes, it may pose a bigger threat to its citizens than not. Despite the fact that it would take a long time before being able to correctly identify all individuals, a lot of personal data and information must go into these data bases. If for any reason the data bases were to be hacked or stolen, the lives of many Chines citizens would be in danger for identity theft reasons. Another way that technology is currently being used for is in payment transactions, as stated in the article. Two problems with this is system. The first one is that the technology is only about 80% correct in its identification. This can lead to incorrect accounts being charged and all sorts of problems that may rise from that. Secondly, the algorithms that have been set in place to provide discounts on people based on their looks can potentially cause, or increase, mental health issues within the population using this product. All in all, as technology increases the amount in which technology invades privacy also increases. Technology can do great things for the large populations, such as China, but everything comes with its own set of consequences.

  9. zonghao li November 10, 2017 at 12:41 pm #

    China’s new facial recognition database that can identify any citizens within seconds can both be a blessing and curse. Although the facial recognition can help many activities such as streamlining airline boarding and securing entry to key locations, it also raises concerns about privacy and government surveillance. If even the United States that is built on the concept of “life, liberty, and happiness” had the NSA spying on its citizens, then Chinese application of such technology should reasonably raise a few eyebrows. Infamously known for the censoring of any information that works against the party, or otherwise known as applying the “Great Firewall of China,” China is hardcore when it comes to government policies, and many have raised concerns about privacy infringement. For example, Fortune reports that Hong Kong billionaire Xiao Jianhua may disappeared because of anti-corruption efforts from the Chinese government.
    With this technology, it seems that these privacy concerns will be further amplified. And while it should be noted that any country using such technology should come under careful scrutiny, we have to be especially careful with a nation that can easily detain people outside of China only to have them magically reappear months later in China. With such facial recognition technology with a success rate as high as 90% will rapidly enable the government to carry out more actions. If we consider surveillance as a passive invasion of our privacy, then these detentions are much, much worse as an active way for the government to misuse such technology. In the end, although we may not be able to do much to correct the government’s ways, we should still be vigilant because information is key in our society today. There is a lot of danger if one doesn’t maintain a basic political awareness because when these policies or technologies are implemented, we may need to change our daily habits or else face consequences. For example, Shanghai already adopted a facial recognition system to shame jaywalkers.
    Another danger we have to look out for is the combination of such a software with future policies. Business Insider reports that China is looking at using data to create a comprehensive credit score much like the dystopian Black Mirror world where one rating determines all the aspects of life: status, workplace opportunities, and lease premiums among other penalties. If such an idea of one credit score to rule so much of one’s life is not scary enough, here’s some context. In the United States, going bankrupt is not the end. While it does cause a lot of problems and is the least desirable outcome, filing for bankruptcy means reorganizing assets and after all that mess one can start anew. Sure, one’s credit rating will be abysmal, but that just means that one cannot access the more convenient services such as credit cards and securing big loans; however, one can still live without credit cards and taking out big loans. Debit cards still work and with cash, one can still work back to a good credit rating. In other words, having one universal credit rating can result in lives being permanently ruined, and facial recognition will further worsen that problem.
    At the end of the day, while technology is crucial to societal growth and is a good thing, we need to take early steps to reduce potential problems. Perhaps one way is to raise awareness about the issue just like Elon Musk gives doomsday warnings about a problem much into the future: artificial intelligence. At the very least, we’d have to know the problem or potential problem before talking about how to solve it.

  10. Greg D'Ottavi November 10, 2017 at 1:32 pm #

    Technology has been advancing at an alarming rate within the last 15 to 20 years and it looks as though this is only the beginning of the tech age. Throughout my entire life technology has always been prevalent in society whereas prior generations have never seen anything like this before. This article posted in the South China Morning Post exhibits one of China’s newest technological developments: facial recognition. Facial recognition has become known recently within the United States with the release of Apple’s iPhone X. The iPhone X’s newest feature involves a facial recognition camera allowing users to unlock their phone simply by looking at it. The benefits to facial recognition are obvious, as it will serve as a substantial security increase, but at the same time, there are various disadvantages many see as well. China is in the midst of using this technology not as a security feature on a phone or computer, but as a recognition device for its entire population. China’s 1.3 billion population is the largest in the world and to have a technology that will recognize any one of its citizens with a simple scan of a face would be a technological breakthrough like no other.
    This project, which began in 2015 is still in development as it has encountered many difficulties to the large population base. The size of the facial recognition database will not exceed 90 terabytes and researchers estimate that it will need to operate at 90 percent accuracy in order to be operational. Originally the system was being developed as a security database for government use, but the commercial use will unleash limitless business opportunity. The most interesting aspect of this technology, in my opinion, is the business or commercial possibility. Companies would be able to use this system to admit their employees into work or universities able to recognize each student as they enter campus. This is something I believe the United States should seriously consider especially in the wake of the Equifax data breach and countless terroristic attacks that happen yearly. If every person were to have their face registered and checked before entering or exiting particular places, it would limit the amount of security breaches.
    With that said, there are many counter arguments against such technology. Many believe that the government and or large commercial companies should not have the ability to store facial recognition. The article discusses possibilities of the facial data being breached and released to public, which would cause very big problems. This is something that I can understand and such a large technological database would need to be nearly flawless in order to operate on such a large scale. If facial information which links each citizen to financial data and other securities is accessed and released to the public, then there is no stopping criminals from stealing identities. It is important to consider all of these possibilities when deciding whether or not to be for or against such technology. In my opinion, the safest way to use a facial recognition system like this would be in law enforcement. Though the commercial and businesses uses would be revolutionary, there are too many unstable aspects. Facial recognition within law enforcement would limit police work tenfold and have a significant impact on crime rates across the country.

  11. Jimmy Bedoya November 10, 2017 at 3:33 pm #

    Though being a topic of discussion for a long time, the innovation of facial recognition to each and every device is one of the technology’s newest feats. Developers in China are starting to build the world’s most powerful facial recognition system with the power to identify 1.3 billion citizens within three seconds. According to an article on the South China Morning Post, the goal for Chinese developers is for the system that they develop to be able to match someone’s face to their ID photo with about 90 percent accuracy. The project proven to be one of the most important and instrumental influences in China, let alone the world, was launched by the two separate security companies located in China. The article suggests that the system can be “connected to surveillance camera networks and will use cloud facilities to connect with data storage and processing centers” across the entire country. Having already created much smaller scales of facial recognition, the technological advancement operates separately using police databases and city ID pools. Having already a national database of police suspects and people of interest, what is left to establish is a national system. The core data set for the national system amounts to 13 terabytes of information. This system is developed for security uses was being utilized for tracking wanted suspects and public administration. Now developers are aiming to have this same system be utilized for commercial use. People can now smile or blink with their eyes and enter university halls, travel on planes without a boarding pass, and pay for meals of their choosing.

    According to the article, certain restaurants are starting to offer discounts based on the customers facial features. The consumer is scanned by a machine and then giving a rank of beauty in which they receive a discount or free meal depending on their aesthetics. This, however, is where technology is taking a wrong turn and is being used horribly. As if the media does not do enough to make consumers feel as they have to own up to a certain image deemed beautiful, along comes technology to evidently ruin consumer morale and give them the illusion that they must look a certain way in order to look beautiful. People are already committing suicide at an enormous rate because they feel as if they do not own up to the image of beauty and will never be what society regards to as “beautiful”. With that being said, if technology decides that they will use facial features to determine who is rewarded, all this will do is reaffirm that “beautiful” people are favored and have many lose a lot of self-esteem. Upon decreasing consumer morale and self-esteem, there will most likely be an increase in suicidal rates and an increase in people conforming to what society expects to be like. I firmly believe that technology should remain neutral and solely be used as an object to make things easier, and not as an entity that will have authority over the public. The moment we let these devices decide who is beautiful and who is not is the moment we give technology a voice. Once that voice is granted, humans will go from being the controllers to the controlees.

  12. Ryan McFadden November 10, 2017 at 4:01 pm #

    The idea that a government can track citizens every move is not a new one. There have been many movies made about the government tracking its citizens, in the movies it is usually criminals that are being tracked. Now there are many ways governments can track citizens, and others in their jurisdictions. Most of which are after the fact, while they are investigating the person they are trying to track. Things such as credit or debit card purchases, posts on social media, gps tracking via cell phones or vehicle gps. But it is a rare occurrence that a government can track people in real time.
    While the Chinese government says the system will be used for “public safety”, it would be very easy for the Chinese government to use it to track all citizens and potentially make it much easier to silence political opposition. The Chinese government is one of the shadiest and secretive governments in the world. It would not be a stretch for them to say the facial recognition database it is for “public safety” then turn around and use it to strengthen the Communist Party of China.
    You may say so what, that’s in China half a world away. But the reality is that this type of tracking is happening right here in the United States. The very controlling New York City government has been tracking citizens in the search for criminals for years via license plate readers. According to the NY Daily News, “The NYPD has been accumulating license plate information since 2007…But the NYPD won’t say how many plate readers it has or how many plates have been scanned into its database, though a 2013 report put that number at 16 million.” While the NYPD cannot use this information unless it is in conjunction with a criminal investigation, as we know between dirty politics and hackers this information can be used for nefarious acts illegally.
    The NYPD also will not say how it keeps this data, or how much data it keeps. According to the NY Daily News “In a report prepared for the NYPD, Vigilant says it has thus far logged 2.2 billion license plate detections from cities nationwide, and that it can provide investigators a sense of where the suspect might be, based on locations and times when the vehicle passed its plate readers.” If this data is used by government entities for controlling its citizens, hackers selling the information to stalkers or to people who are searching for someone in the witness protection program peoples lives could be in danger.
    While the idea China using facial recognition to track all people within the country can be a shock, but at the same time non threatening given the distance, it is something all Americans need to be aware of. Because this technology to track people is already here in the United States, via license plate readers and limited facial recognition. The Chinese people are not safe from the government tracking their every move and neither are Americans.

    NY Daily News:

  13. N.A. November 10, 2017 at 4:41 pm #

    China’s plan to build a giant facial recognition database to identify any citizen within seconds is in my opinion, an incredible idea and worth all the effort in ensuring the success of such a project. Facial recognition can be useful in a number of amount of ways which for example include more enclosed security and also saving more time in the process. It would benefit security in a way since having such a system in place that can automatically identify any Chinese citizen is very useful in quickly allowing or denying any individual access to certain places that require a security clearance. Security these days is of utmost importance, especially in public areas where the threat of danger is more imminent than in nonpublic areas. Hence, if a dangerous event were to occur, facial recognition can help furnish any useful evidence needed for an investigation with scanned photos of the suspect or suspects who were in the vicinity of the incident.

    As for time, facial recognition can greatly reduce the amount of time employees, for instance, spend entering and leaving their workplace. Some facilities are accustomed to long lines of security clearance in which it takes employees or normal everyday civilians hours to get cleared. By reducing the time it takes to get cleared and not going thru piles of antagonizing paperwork just to prove someone’s identity, you improve efficiency and effectiveness of overall security clearance in general. Additionally, it also reduces the number of long lines people have to wait in by having a system already equipped with the necessary information/identity of over a billion citizens of China. Ultimately, the system may come at a significant cost to the Chinese government but it’s a cost that is worth it as the benefits of implementing facial recognition outweigh the cons.

  14. Jeffrey Khoudary November 10, 2017 at 7:45 pm #

    As technology continues to grow, it will have a large impact on people’s private lives. Now, technology has already interfered with people’s privacy. This is problematic because people, especially American consumers, value their ability to keep certain information, such as financial and medical data, away from another person’s knowledge. News articles, such as “Why you should be using a password manager” by Natham Ingram emphasize the importance of creating long, complex and unique passwords so that hackers can not access personal information. Despite these security measures, an entire population’s personal information can be compromised with a single data breach. China is currently creating a facial recognition database of its entire population, 1.3 billion people, in a security company based in Shanghai. However, if China’s facial recognition database is hacked, the hackers would be able to take and easily store everyone’s personal information on small, portable drives. This facial recognition program raises the risk of data theft for all Chinese people.
    Measures are being taken to protect people’s personal information. Under current regulations, commercial sectors are forbidden to use this database. Also, the Ministry of Public Security reassured the public that the information will be as protected as the launch codes for missiles. I hope that this security will actually be put into place for this data. Otherwise, the consequences could be devastating for an entire country.
    Ideally, the facial recognition system will be applied to keep people safe. This system can be linked with surveillance cameras throughout the country to quickly respond to a crime. The goal of this project is to be able to track wanted criminals with ease by using these programs. Currently, facial recognition programs in China are being used for small scale needs, such as police databases. These police databases can recognize and track a target through a large crowd with facial recognition programs.
    Currently, there are some limitations with the project. Present facial recognition technology is not as accurate as it needs to be for this project. Researchers at Tsinghua University found that facial recognition was below sixty percent accuracy. This is expected to happen though because in a group of over a billion people, it makes sense that some completely unrelated people will look alike. In my opinion, the facial recognition needs to be at least ninety percent accurate before being used. Otherwise, it could lead to unwanted stress for innocent civilians and the police force.

  15. Eric A November 11, 2017 at 1:57 pm #

    This article on facial recognition, which appeared in the South China Morning Post, outlines a new initiative by the Chinese government to increase security. Facial recognition itself is not a new technology, but this would be the first time an initiative of this size has been implemented at a national level. While it may be a good idea in terms of public safety, I also see a major dark side to this kind of technology.
    The first issue I see is privacy. China’s laws and culture are different than ours, and based on the article they appear to have been much more accepting of facial recognition than we have. In China, as the article states, people can go to restaurants and pay for their meal by scanning their face. While I think that sounds really cool, I don’t believe it would be quick to catch on in the United States where people seem less willing to knowingly allow companies to build databases on them. Should China’s initiative succeed, it will mean that people within the country can be directly tracked by the government whenever they are in public. The project will more than likely aid law enforcement in investigations, but could also be used as a tool to oppress the people of China if the government decided to. It makes it almost impossible to hide and live a life with any level of autonomy from the government and would make identifying and subsequently arresting people who the government sees as a threat a much easier task than before. With that said, it must be noted that governments all over the world (including the United States) use these kinds of technologies and ones that are not yet public, and have been for years for various purposes. The thing that makes China’s different is the massive size and scope of the project.
    Another major issue is the ease with which this system could be compromised. It was noted in the article that the files within the database, which would be about 90 terabytes, could be transferred to a flash drive and stolen. The government says that it would be terribly difficult to steal the data that way, but what about hackers? Especially ones outside the country who are not subject to Chinese law. The fact that this project is public and people around the world are aware of the major players makes it much more vulnerable to hacking. It would be difficult to crack, but even getting access to a small portion of this database would mean being able to steal the information of millions of people in one shot which could translate to a massive payday for the thieves at the expense of the Chinese people.

  16. Doris Motta November 11, 2017 at 4:50 pm #

    With the new features on the that has been brought by the latest phone Apple developed, I already saw this coming. I wouldn’t be surprised if this new way of recognizing others becomes the normal procedure within the next decade. So many technological advances have been made decade by decade that I am not surprised. To be able to identify individuals who are wanted and need to be found, I am all for this technological advance. However, once the article stated more in depths ways that a facial recognition program can be used; it brings some concern.
    The problem with technology, is that there are always glitches and there will always be errors. Although it can become efficient and save time for many things, it is not 100% reliable. Therefore, if someone is mistaken for another person then how reliable is facial recognition? I find this to be beneficial, but I also believe this can be a way of controlling everyone’s single move. I found it ridiculous and astonishing that some companies use facial recognition as a way of providing discounts. My facial features should not account for how much of a discount I should be given. It is too early to tell whether this is good new or bad news.

  17. TraceeF November 11, 2017 at 7:46 pm #

    China’s new facial recognition software as part of an identification process seems to be the natural next step of the evolution of technology. My first recollection of facial recognition is the Snapchat application, a social media platform for sharing pictures. With all the advances in technology I feel that there are greater things to come than china’s idea for facial recognition in place of a physical ID. For example the google glasses are supposed to be able to identify a person’s social media accounts simply from their facial recognition. New technologies like this worry me because there is no way to know who has access to your information.
    As for China’s plans, I feel as if it would definitely give an upper hand to the government. It will be very hard for people who have broken the law to escape the law because it will become much harder to claim a false identity. However, the article mentioned that the security of the software is very weak. The software can be transferred onto a flashdrive which means that anyone could steal all of china’s identity in the blink of an eye. If the software is not secure I would hope that China would not go through with the facial recognition process. The fact that this software can be so easily taken puts China at the mercy of other countries if there was a war.

  18. Rebecca Hu November 17, 2017 at 4:28 pm #

    It is interesting to see Chinese to build and try to apply these facial recognition technology. For a period of time I crossed the Shenzhen on Hong Kong border daily, I saw there is an increase on the information these officials collect. Few years ago I just have to fill in a form about some information of my intention of travelling. Recently when I went back, they are collecting your fingerprints and a picture of you every time you pass through the border. It’s a lengthy process, yet they are adding more machines to collect information about you at the customs.
    Chinese society are changing, I can walk out into any stores and even beggars and pay them using my phone. Although there are many issues Chinese have to deal with. Technological payments methods are getting better and better. In America only a few shops I can pay with my phones. In China you can pay using your phone everywhere. These vendors are not required to provide special machine that detects your phone, obviously machines will raise cost and not everyone will use the service. So it changes the way to send or receive money, it is based on QR code. This really lead the popularity of these technology explode.
    I feel recent years, the Chinese government has concentrated on the major thing on making everything digital. Before documents are recorded in paper form, now they are all digital. Technology surely has improved the lives of many for convince sake. Also, it will be an excellent tool to use for security. I think it is possible for the Chinese government to complete the facial recognition database, it is just a matter of how fast can they be done. Then there is another debate, by having information about everyone in the country it seems like we are recreating the scene in 1984 by George Orwell. It might be good for security reason, this means every camera can be an eye for the government. “Big Brother is watching you.” The government can have access to everything by simply tracking your face through surveillance cameras, which is everywhere.
    This to me may be a great idea on paper, but in reality I think it is a crazy idea. There is too much information given to one party. This information can be easily used by the wrong people, could possibly lead to a dictatorship just like portrayed in the movies. As the article mentioned, with current technology this information can be stored on the small hard drive and be carried out from the facilities. Of course, the officials are going to say this kind of incident is impossible. However, as we recently have witnessed from Equifax. This information should not be hacked easily, but it has been hacked. This confidential information are not confidential anymore. Think about the unlimited possibilities people can do with your face and your confidential information. I think the idea of taking a lot of important data and put it in one place is generally a bad idea. Maybe I watched too many movies, but normally bad things happen if you put a lot of important things together. I just imagine if anything goes wrong with the database, it could mean a bigger security threat than what we are dealing now.

  19. Arielle Fortes November 17, 2017 at 4:39 pm #

    In many criminal movies you can see when the person goes to the high tech software and uses the facial recognition to find someone to save the day. Or you can see someone using facial recognition to get into a high tech vault in a movie. Although we see facial recognition all the time in movies what would happen if facial recognition was used in the world normally and not simply in the movies. With the new system that China is planning to implement this might because something that is used in everyday life an =d not something that we simply see on the big screen.
    According to the article China is planning to build a humongous facial recognition program that can identify anyone of their citizens in ‘three seconds’. This could have a big impact on the future when it comes to technology. As of right now there are some systems that can use facial recognition but on a smaller scale which does make sense. Facial recognition can be extremely helpful when it comes to tracking down people. And if everyone can be recognized within three second it would be a lot easier for the police to track down criminals and wanted people since they can recognize their face structure. That would help keep people safer since criminals can be caught at a much faster rate and more efficiently than before. The business aspect of this idea is quite interesting. If a computer can recognize your face then there would be no need for a paper ID since the computer can tell whether you are you. In addition, students would not need to carry around their id since the computer would be able to tell whiter or not they are of the school or if they are not a part of the school they would not be able to get in. This would help security so that unknown people would be allowed to get in. Also since there are so many shooting happening recently it would be so much easier for people to identify the shooter which can help people to understand motives and how to get the shooter to stop. I also think that people do not need a boarding pass on an airplane the boarding of an airplane could go much faster causing less time wasted with boarding passes. However, it would be a problem that there is a chance of the data possibly being stolen. If everyone’s information was on one system if the system got hacked into then there would be more of a need for the system to make sure that is safe from any hacking. Considering that there is no way to make sure that any system is truly safe it would be one huge security risk. Especially since the information is on citizens and if their information is stolen it could be used to take all their money and to commit identity theft so they could be constantly at risk. Also with facial recognition, there is a huge risk of invasion of privacy, since it would be easier for people to find out the identity of other people even if they had no prior knowledge which is another security risk. This could be used for criminal activity very easily.

  20. Lucas Nieves-Violet November 30, 2017 at 10:21 pm #

    While I can understand that facial recognition may in fact benefit the most populated country on our planet, facial recognition is still not fully practical. Proof of this is apple’s new device the Iphone X. I phone designs all of these new devices in California however all the technology is assembled in China. Apple has since received “not so great” reviews on it’s new iphone, and new face recognition software. The first problem that arises during the reveal of the new phone witnesses the presenter himself struggling to unlock the phone with his face as the phone did not recognize the facial expression. Even when it does work the scan still proves to be quite slow. The concept of facial recognition captures thousands of points on persons face and repeats the process in order to recognize the person. The huge issue is people change and so do their skin, or style more precisely. If person is scanned with long luscious hair but a few month later decides to go bald, it is known that the technology will have a tendency to not be able to recognize that very face or character. While this aspect concerns hair it is also the same when talking about beard and mustaches, the camera and scan is used to scanning one particular face.

    While this is one aspect on a greater and more important scale China currently has 1.3 billion citizens making it the biggest and most populated country on earth. Having a database synchronized to sync these 1.3 Billion individuals while I am not saying is impossible but will surely be time consuming and extremely hard to do. Moreover the article claims to be able to recognize each individual within three seconds, to me this is a hard sale. I simply can’t imagine the technology able to do such action. More importantly the company, the security firm in charge of this operation will most likely make millions if not Billions after the project is accomplish. This doesn’t stop there though the amount of resources needed for the security firm to accomplish this project will most likely not be successful without access to some sort or private records. The “scan” programs also indicates and hints at many breaches of privacy by constantly monitoring service cameras, in metros as seen in the picture or street cameras. How is anyone supposed to believe that this will also not be used as a weapon or a spying tool. Giving access to cameras will most likely mean the access to computer cameras may be activated as well. In the long run I find this project to be more worrisome than successful, it seems like more of an excuse to breach privacy and an excuse to be able to record and scan faces on the clock. In other words it would give the Chinese government a strong hold over their people as they will constantly be under surveillance. If this project does indeed become successful I can envision without a doubt Uncle Sam’s NSA kids will be wanting a piece of that action or hardware, making it again a potential weapon and breach for everyone.

  21. Vincent Scorese December 8, 2017 at 8:00 pm #

    This article sounds like something out of the lines of a Sci fi movie. There are plenty of movies that touched on this topic and most famously would be the movie The Circle and also “The V for Vendetta” which showcased a scenario where a government had the access to see and locate people at any given point and time as this article describes of china. Now there are plenty of ethical issues with what they could do with this but also the bigger issue is what would this mean for the citizens? The fact as we know it is that not everyone is going to agree or disagree with the government they are under or the policies they pass, but what if you are against them? China and other communist countries are famous for the imprisonment and harassment of political opponents who they claim are enemies of the state and if they don’t imprison them sometimes kill them. This was especially true if you look into the book of history and look at regimes like Hitler with the Nazis and that of Stalin in the Russian union. These regimes were notorious for silencing those who opposed them and Hitler did this effectively with what was known as the Gestapo. Now for china they are also in the same boat of imprisoning those who they oppose and completely violating what we would consider privacy rights of their own citizens on a daily basis. This is a major issue if the program can get up and running because what if the entire world decided to use this type of technology software and have access to the entire population at any given time regardless of where one person is at any time. Now this would be very good for people they are trying to catch for instance people located on the FBI’s most wanted or major criminals from other countries seeking refuge and hiding out other places. The problem is that in a perfect world they just may only use it for that purpose but he odds are that would extend into using it for more than just that and again with a 90% accuracy percentage it could be wrong 1 out of every 10 times it performs a facial san to try and locate someone and in some instances, you could be mistaken for someone you are not by the misreading of the technology system. It is interesting to see where they go from here and how long it takes for the company and the government of china to figure this thing out and put it into effect.

  22. Adam Facella January 27, 2018 at 2:50 pm #

    Although this is very interesting, it is also very scary. Even though currently this technology is only being used in China, it won’t be long until it travels closer to where we live. Apple has recently done something very similar, where you are now able to open your iPhone with just a smile, similar to the way that you can pay for your meal at KFC in China! It seems as though this is just another way that the government is going to be able to follow every citizen’s actions more than they already are. Between the use of smartphone GPS’ and now facial recognition there will be nothing that people can do as a secret. There is a chance that this will be a positive, for crime reasons, if the face has been seen at a scene it will be more easily identified than in previous cases. But, with this there may also be types of trickery of the system, where people may have a mask of another person to take the blame off of themselves. Once this system is perfected, I would be very surprised if the United States does not begin to use a system of facial recognition similar to China’s.

  23. Jerry Wu January 29, 2018 at 10:55 pm #

    I find that this new facial recognition technology to be a very interesting and exciting thing to look forward to. However, I can also think it could lead to scary situations as well. As China continues to develop this new technology (and is the only nation using it), this new idea will soon travel all over the world (i.e. the IPhone)! The main benefit for this the security, because of the fact that not one person has the same exact facial feature, which means that only one person can access a certain piece of tech that they own. The only downside to this is the effectiveness and possibly spying. Throughout the years, technology has even given criminals and eavesdroppers a way to spy through other pieces of technology that they do not own. Major issues such as this have to eventually be fixed. However, if and when this idea is perfected, I would not be surprised to see the majority of the world using this technology in the future.

  24. Jessica Williams February 2, 2018 at 10:38 am #

    While this technology may be proven to be useful for identification of citizens for the Chinese government, it is inevitable that once this technology is further developed and working as intended, other countries may go forward with the same or a similar idea. The main concern with this kind of technology is whether or not it can be used to infringe on an individual’s privacy, as well as how public facilities such as restaurants or bathrooms could take advantage of this technology for ill or for the better.

    With the release of the iPhone X, privacy and security are already a topic for discussion in the United States because the device is also capable to scanning an individual’s face to trigger certain actions, primarily to unlock the phone itself. The possibility of tapping into an individual’s phone and stealing information gathered by the facial recognition system is not unlikely, as criminals could eventually adapt to the technological advances in society that have become more common, and utilize them to carry out their crimes as a result, such as with identity theft. The amount of information that could be accessed with this feature could be unprecedented, and could also prove to make crimes like Identity theft even easier than it was before.

    In the event that this technology becomes common in public areas, such as in restaurants and restrooms, it could pave the way more additional ethical issues regarding favoritism and discrimination. In the example given in the article, where restaurants determined the amount an individual should pay based on their physical features, this could definitely pose a number of issues, the most basic one being discrimination. In other areas, such as the United States, which is pegged as the “melting pot of all cultures,” utilizing this sort of technology could raise additional concern, as if restaurants were to utilize this technology in a similar way, the facial recognition system could be programmed to identify certain features to determine one’s race or gender, and discriminate based on the information it receives from the user, which could eventually spiral into legal concerns as well.

    Although this new kind of technology can be exciting to bring to reality, one must take into account the other legal and ethical concerns that could manifest itself in the misuse or exploitation of the technology. Although this could benefit the government and the people of China, it is uncertain of how other countries will utilize the tech, either for better or for worse.

  25. Luke Nadolny February 2, 2018 at 11:13 am #

    Facial recognition is an interesting concept now in 2018, and it has divided a lot of people on the matter. As well as it being an interesting idea, it can also be put into the conversation of violation of privacy. Having the government track your moves by using your facial features is in theory, a pretty good idea if you want to catch criminals or suspects in a potential case, but outside of the law, it seems a little over the top and unnecessary. The article mentions that people with better looks and better features will be able to get cheaper meals at certain restaurants, what is that? That may be the most ridiculous and most unfair idea I have ever heard of. What if you are the nicest guy in the world but have acne? And the girl across from you was on the cover of a swimsuit calendar, but is a total jerk to her waiter? She’s paying $15 for a 24oz prime rib while your paying $29 for the same steak. It does not seem fair in that sense and I think that idea has to be scraped. While this is only a factor in China, it is only a matter of time before it moves over to the United States, which we have already got a taste of.

    With the introduction of the iPhone X, the newest feature includes facial recognition to unlock your phone, which has caused a lot of people to question if it is right or wrong. I know a lot of people who think this idea is actually kind of creepy when you think about the risks. People say that one of your friends will wait until you are asleep and then use your face to get into your phone so they can do some stupid prank to you, now this is very unlikely, but this is one of the risks that can come with facial recognition on phones anyway. If people in the United States are feeling this way about facial recognition on a phone, think about how they will react to facial recognition being used for everything, I do not believe they will welcome it with open arms.

  26. Jesse Rodgers February 2, 2018 at 3:10 pm #

    Facial recognition is something that we have seen in movies for years now and I honestly did not expect it become a reality this soon. The advancement of technology over the last so many years has made facial recognition a reality. China as we speak is trying to build a facial recognition database for the entire country whose population is 1.3 billion people. There are plenty of pros and cons when it comes to a database like this. One of the pros is that it can make travelling much easier if the entire world had this database. By this I mean you would no longer need a physical passport that you have a chance of losing. Also it would help out the police force with finding suspects even if they are in a large crowd. This would potentially reduce crime because there would be a greater chance of getting caught because of the new database. There is a system in place already called Ivision. The company set up systems in Tibet and Xinjiang for law enforcements where riots have broken out. With all of these pros there is definitely a major concern with this.
    The major issue with this database is the security and privacy implications. With hackers these days it seem like there isn’t anything that they can’t hack. So with this database based on your face they will be able to learn everything about you. This could lead to people stealing your identity, credit card info, your social security etc. Not only can hackers get the info but because the database would be so large that there would be a greater chance of there being a leakage of information. There is no doubt that there is a lot of upside to their being a database like this. However, with that upside usually comes with some potential risks. To me I think the risks outweighs the upside to something like this. I personally do not trust something like that to stay completely private without getting hacked or being leaked.

  27. Jacob Abel February 2, 2018 at 3:15 pm #

    While the Chinese may be developing this facial recognition technology for security it still offers interesting challenges in terms of security and privacy. While China does not have the same privacy rights as we do here in the United States there is still concern as the article notes, that this information could be stolen or abused. There is also the great technical challenge as the article explains with facial recognition technology not being quite advanced enough as of now to completely develop this system. This seems similar to the debate in the US over cellular data as being able to instantly recognize anyone and have their information stored in a database is quite the technological innovation. The fact that this technology is now also being used in restaurants to determine better pricing for people who are better looking seems unethical, at least to an American.
    Another debate that i would be interested in seeing arise is how much cooperation the Chinese government is able to get from the private and educational sectors. While the article states that the government is getting help from some companies, the massive implications of this project may turn some off to the idea of collecting this large amount of data. From a law enforcement perspective it would make catching people much easier as they conceivably could not hide anywhere in China. However this could just as easily be used to suppress any sort of opposing opinions by those who do not agree with the government. “Enemies of the state” could be tracked and arrested quite easily. This sounds like a system straight out of a George Orwell novel. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the private sector in other nations and what other ethical questions arise from the development of this technology.

  28. Nicholas Marinelli February 2, 2018 at 5:05 pm #

    We live in a technological world that is increasing at an exponential rate, with advancements coming before the thought of regulations. The thought of a constant facial surveillance is extremely alarming and disheartening to say the least. There is absolutely no doubt that the feat is quite extraordinary and technologically sound, but it creates problems and possibility for holes and leaks everywhere.
    The population of China is astronomical and that number will most likely increase within the years to come. Is the need for nationwide facial recognition truly the smartest decision at this time? In my opinion it is not.
    Data hacks are quite prevalent and easy with the constant creation of new technology. With billions of pictures in a data hub- whether that be at the Ministry of Public Service on a portable device or hub, or in the cloud- it is an easy target for hackers. The hacking epidemic in China is noticeable, not only in China- but across the ocean in the U.S. Chinese hackers have threatened the United States’ companies and government with breeches and various illegal hacks. With tens of terabytes of Chinese citizens on a data sheet, hackers will have a field day- especially if the government is hiring a private company to complete this task.
    Another alarming factor to put into perspective is the fact that “Among 1.3 billion people, some totally unrelated people have faces so alike even their parents cannot tell them apart”. How will police distinguish between a criminal and a law-abiding citizen? This creates bias and possible discrimination.
    The most obvious objection regarding the implementation of facial recognition is the fact that this is the epitome of Big Brother. Only seen during movies and sci-fi movies, facial recognition mesmerized the masses, but now hit with this reality, is it really worth adding to society. Life with facial recognition cameras that follow you and track your every step, a database that has pictures of your body from various angles, and an increased vulnerability in society does not sound at all appetizing. But, how different is that from today’s world? We turn on our iPhone X with a nano-second glimpse of our face, we walk down the street passing several surveillance cameras, and we post and take pictures all day on Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram. We are simply adding to the bundle of information that everyone has of us. In my opinion however, I truly hope the Chinese government does not implement this as a surveillance tool against its citizens, as it is invasive, alarming, and discomforting.

  29. Justin February 2, 2018 at 5:13 pm #

    The author emphasizes that China is trying to build the world’s most powerful facial recognition system to identify all the citizens and catch criminal within a matter of minutes. According to Grenoble, China currently had 176 million surveillance cameras installed. The surveillance cameras are controlled by the AI (artificial intelligence), and the camera can identify people’s characteristics and track people’s movement. Imaging if China builds the giant facial recognition database and connects the surveillance cameras with the database. The AI will be able to identify each people’s personal information within a second and police will be able to locate suspects without even sending offices to portal the streets. However, some researchers said is impossible to identify each person correctly, in the recent iPhone X launch, the iPhone X is struggling to identify twins or two people with similar characteristics. In the other hand, China also have a huge population, according to the article each portrait information will take up to 13 terabytes to storage, China had a 1.3 billion population, so far none of the database systems in the world are capable to storage information at that scale. The Chinese government will also give commercial sectors access to the database. People could use face ID to pay for merchandises, just like the Apple Pay with the Face ID. However, that raises a privacy concern, since the commercial sectors had access to the database, some of the commercial company may sell the dates to the identity theft or the advertisement company. And some of the restaurants offered discounts to the customer with beautiful characteristics, which may lead to discrimination.
    In response to Piyush Patel’s comment, the facial recognition will not violate violated citizens’ privacy. The staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union Brett Kaufman said: “If you’re under arrest, and the police are asking you to stare at the camera to take a picture, just because you have a Fifth Amendment right doesn’t mean you can act in ways that obstruct your processing.” Therefore, the Face ID will not violate the privacy law and is not protected by the Fifth Amendment.
    According to the article (China to the US: Stop Hacking us), China is not the only country that hacking another nation, WikiLeaks revealed data show that the CIA had hacked into a lot of Chinese companies such as Huawei and ZTE. “The U.S. government regularly accuses China and other countries of hacking attacks, which the Chinese government always denies.”(Beavers) The US also denies when China accuses US hacking into another country. It is normal that country spy on to each other, and once China successfully creates the database system, no doubt that the US will get the hands on it so how.

  30. Michael Polito February 2, 2018 at 7:46 pm #

    As the world starts to get more and more advanced people and technology will start to become smarter. This is already happening and is happening over in China because they have built a huge facial recognition system that will allow them to match anyone’s face to their picture ID, all within about 3 seconds. This system is truly amazing due to the facts that it works with about a 90 per cent efficiency rate, and there are 1.3 billion people that live in China. The system can recognize and math the face within 3 seconds which is truly impressive. Technology could change the way that people’s information is stored and managed. Also this can change the way criminals are looked up and uncovered. Facial recognition is a new technology that is in the works right now to be perfected and this could be a big break through. This tool will become vitally important is the identifying of anyone whether it is a lost child or criminal that needs identifying. Being able to successfully match someone will become much easier when everyone in the entire country has their face in the data base.
    In the law enforcement world this will make police work become increasingly easier when in regards to capturing a suspect. This technology is critical in the law enforcement due to the fact that is incredibly easy to identify someone. Instead of having a picture of a person that you can only run through the existing mug shot database you can run it through the whole country to get a match. If a criminal got any part of his face on camera and it is not covered there will be no place to go. Criminals will have nowhere to go if their face has been compromised. As this technology grows I feel that every country should have one of these databases and facial recognition systems. If every country had one of these systems the rate of unsolved crimes would go down. It is possible that crime may go down in general. Most places in the modern world we live in have cameras and if any crime is caught on camera it will be a lot easier to identify a suspect if his face is seen on camera. Previous to this era of technology a face could be captured but if the person has not committed a previous crime it will be impossible to identify the person with a mug shot because of their lack of one. Although many may have objections to this system because they can be identified so quickly but it is something that needs to be done. This technology could make countries safer places if their law enforcement officers had accessibility to this tool. If China develops this system and it preforms as well as the article says is possible then this should be given to every government. Facial recognition is going to be the future of law enforcement and governments everywhere. No one will be able to escape from this kind if technology. Being able to positively identify someone would solve a lot of problems not just with criminals but with missing people or dead people found. This tool really doesn’t have any negatives to it and should be in every country.

  31. Sapna Swayampakula February 2, 2018 at 9:32 pm #

    I think that the system of being to match someone’s identity to their face using technology is very unique. It shows the advancement of the technology, and it’s also a little scary, because if the government can identity us by this, then what else will they be capable of? This kind of advance technology is only seen in movies, and now it’s a possible reality. Technology is very crazy and intense, and it’s not easy. The population of China is in the billions, this will take a very long time to develop. This advancement in technology could definitely help in in the criminal department. Identifying people would become so much easier, and it would definitely be a big support in solving crimes. This is will definitely take time, especially with the population China has, there will be a lot of trial and error.
    It is important that this advancement in technology isn’t abused however, if it is being used for good purposes and used for the better good, and to help in legal manners, it’s a definite plan. But if used inappropriately everywhere, it can rise serious issues.

  32. Lucas Notarianni February 3, 2018 at 3:31 pm #

    Facially identifying China’s 1.3 billion people is a daunting task to achieve. What seems like a science fiction movie is becoming to life. China’s “Big brother” mentality will soon be able to overwatch every citizen of their country. It will be very impressive for the country to recognize each person by their picture on their driver’s license in three seconds, but may issues arise. There becomes a privacy issue, accuracy issue, and a security issue.
    The first issue becomes privacy. People cannot go out in public the same as they used to. There will be tracked information of each of each and every location someone has been to. China will be strengthening its communist stereotype even more when it can locate and find anyone and everyone’s position nationwide. It may be a positive that they can find criminals easier, but they can also pursue their special interest. Being able to have knowledge of everyone can help high up officials to have leverage over people they do not like. They may be able to track and locate a person until they slip up in order to throw them in prison. There usually is a give and take though when it becomes a manner of security. China wants to track possible terrorists which is a positive, but is it worth the loss of privacy citizens possess? That is one question China officials should think twice of if they were the ones being tracked every day of their lives.
    Another issue is accuracy. As mentioned in the article, China’s goal is to be 90 percent accurate. Even if they accomplish that goal, it leaves about 130 million people being falsely identified constantly. With many twins out in the world that are hard to identify, it will become very irritating to be assumed to be another person through the internet system. Even in the article, there are people not related to each other, yet are totally unrecognizable by their own parents to tell the difference. Having that knowledge, people may use it to their advantage to take another’s identity and purchase, do crimes, etc. and get away with it falsely accusing the look-alive, making situations very complex. When it becomes accuracy, 90 percent is amazing, but it would need to be more accurate if China wanted to expand their current uses for the project.
    The last problem would be security. Stated in the article, the devices that store the information could be easily portable, which means it can be stolen. Similar to the hacks of the past year from companies, having this knowledge fall into the wrong hands would be devastating. There would have to be a major upgrade in software to prevent hackers from getting into the technology.
    All in all, the technology is very impressive and I would think it is a good idea, but I do not want the government knowing everyone I go, even if I do everything legal because I want my own privacy. With the growing threat of terrorists, security verses privacy will be a struggle that many governments will have to look after for years to come.

  33. Daniel Colasanto February 3, 2018 at 6:55 pm #

    Facial recognition technology is a very interesting innovation in China right now. However I feel that there are many implicit dangers to corporations and even the government having access to such personal information of people. I don’t believe in allowing the government allowing corporations to have access or the ability to buy information gathered about a person through facial recognition scanning.
    Although I do think facial recognition technology could make the consumption of goods easier and more convenient, I think that where there is a great deal of information there will be a high chance of the misuse of such data. I do not think it is unlikely that corporations and the government using this technology in a way that leverages authority or the maximization of profit. For example, there are already beta testing that is recruiting volunteers to use their facial scanning to see if the computer determines whether their facial features are more or less attractive depending on facial symmetry. With this companies will offer discounts to individuals who are more beautiful than others. This in my opinion is discriminatory and should be a prohibited business practice that will be misusing this new technology. According to the article the progress and development of this technology is confidential which I interpret as a negative. i am in favor of using this technology for security because of it’s high accuracy of being correct and low probability of being wrong when determining the identity of people, this in my opinion could be used to improve the social equity of a country and make airports, sports arenas, etc much more safer to gather large amounts of people and reduce the risk of terrorism and many other threats. With that people said I have my pros and cons for facial recognition technology but I feel with the proper regulation and use of the information it gathers and the distribution that data, facial recognition technology could definitely make our world much safer and convenient.

  34. Connor Wiedeman February 7, 2018 at 4:43 pm #

    This article is certainly a controversial topic, and made me uneasy reading about it. This type of system is something that you would see in a sci-fi movie, not in real life. In my opinion, the very concept of this system crosses so many lines in the sand regarding privacy that it is hard for me to believe that this is something being developed. This seems like a very big overreach and very unnecessary. China is currently a government that likes to have a lot of control over its citizens. They censor movies, shows, and block certain internet websites, even Facebook. So when the article is saying that this massive scale facial recognition system is to decrease wait times and pay for KFC, it certainly seems as if there are other purposes to sinking all of this money into developing this system.
    While facial recognition software certainly has its benefits in the correct uses, I believe that using it in this manner is invasive to the people of China. Imagine being constantly tracked and watched by cameras at all times when out in public. It seems to me like a step in the wrong direction when it comes to utilizing the technology we have to improve lives. The completion of this system would reduce wait times, and make paying for things more convenient, but at the cost of all of your privacy. This does not seem like an even trade off to me. This would also give the Chinese government a lot more control over its citizens. If you go out in public, they’ll know who you are and where you are. There are also parts of the article that say that the computer uses algorithms to determine the “beauty” of the person being analyzed. The article also says that people who have a higher beauty score by having a symmetrical face, would be offered certain discounts. I do not understand this because any company offering these “beauty” discounts would surely catch a lot of heat in the year 2018 and this can be viewed as discrimination.
    Another reason I think this is a bad idea is because the sensitive data that would be stored in this database would eventually fall into the wrong hands. In today’s world, cyber attacks are a huge problem and although i am not an expert on the topic, it doesn’t seem that cyber security has fully caught up with hackers. If this data were to get out, it could mean identity theft on a large scale. If people can use this system to pay for food and other things, then that means that they must have a credit card or some type of payment method also stored in the database. I also think that big corporations could abuse this system to track where consumers are shopping, and how much time they spend in certain stores.
    I think that proponents of this system might think this a good idea on a paper, but once it is complete and set in place, I think their minds will change. Overall this system seems like something with tremendous costs for a few frivolous benefits such a paying for your food, but comes with plenty of downsides such as losing your privacy in public, and putting sensitive data at risk by putting it all into one database.

  35. Nathaniel Valyo February 8, 2018 at 12:48 pm #

    The researcher at the Institute of Computing Technology in Beijing summed up this entire article at the very end when they said this facial recognition database will be “sacrificing security.” China successfully keeping tabs on every single one of its 1.3 billion citizens would be a next to impossible task, let alone doing so without compromising individual privacy. Simply put, if this system were to be effective, Chinese citizens would lose their right to privacy.

    The original idea of this system makes sense: to track down suspects and persons of interest for the local police forces and the government. Having the power and ability to track a suspected criminal down, wherever they may be, is an ideal tool for any law enforcement agency, especially if said person is in a large crowd, as the article suggests. But, how beneficial does that ability become if every innocent person is being unwillingly photographed in the process? In my opinion, the cons violently outweigh the pros. Also, in a nation with a population of 1.3 billion, some people are bound to have striking similarities, as the article mentions, and the government is bound to make frequent mistakes on identifying people. It seems rather counterintuitive.

    Not to mention the ever-present possibility of the facial recognition database being subject to a hack. How could the government, which is supposedly trust-worthy and solely concerned with the citizens’ best interests, risk a major breach of privacy? What would happen if everyone’s faces fell in the wrong hands?

    Some of the positives of this facial recognition database are expedited processes, like students entering university buildings with just a smile, or people using just their face to board a plane or pay for a meal. There are positives to this new technology, without a doubt. But with a massive database like this, the risks of a hack are much higher, and therefore the cons must be taken into account. Even though the article mentions the Chinese government’s claim that a hack would be nearly impossible, there is still a chance, no matter how small it may be. Identities, and subsequently lives, are at stake.

    The passage on restaurants using algorithms to “score” people based on their looks reminds me of the dystopian Netflix series Black Mirror. In one episode, the world is run by an app in which people rate each other based on looks and socioeconomic status, and the higher their ranking, the higher up they are in society. It is essentially a society dominated by hedonism and pride. The ulterior meaning of this episode is to depict a society which no one wants to live in, and the fact that China is making this a reality provides cause for worry.

  36. Jon Cortes February 9, 2018 at 6:02 pm #

    Public safety has always been a concern for China, and now they are on the forefront of finding people instantly.When a criminal is put in a lineup, wouldn’t it be great if the culprit could be found within a matter of seconds? China is currently working on a new recognition software that can identify a person’s face and pull up their information from a national database. While this seems great for finding felons, this software also aims to prevent terroristic threats and protect people from being harmed in the process. For example, if someone were to report strange activity in an area of Shanghai, police could use this software to pull up security footage and point out any citizen in the video who may have a history with law enforcement. the Ministry of Public Security have been working to achieve as accurate a match as possible when using this program. Unfortunately, the current rate of success is between 60 to 70 percent, with China aiming for at least 90. This is not bad considering the amount of people in the Shanghai database. This database will most likely be over 10 terabytes worth of space, and will contain a picture and summary of each person currently residing in this city. Isvision, the company developing this system, has reached out to members of the technology community to work out any bugs that may pose a threat to the program’s security. If they can’t hack into it, then a real hacker won’t be able to either. A few setbacks have prevented the database from being put into the world just yet. These include funding, technology errors, and the program mistaking one person in a photo for another. Other companies in China have begun to cash in on facial recognition technology by placing it in their businesses for customers to use. One college university has set up a facial program that can recognize a student’s face so they can pay for meals when entering their dining hall. Airports have also taken advantage of this by allowing consumers to board a plane without them having to get a pass. It may not be cost efficient way of finding someone in a crowd, but it will be worth it to find offenders among the population in Shanghai. There are however, experts in the field of computer science that claim this much data may pose a risk to these citizens as well. It is possible this software may find its way on to the internet, and someone could potentially use it to find, stalk or even murder a person. Although this is unlikely, the risk remains nonetheless. There are limits to what we can do with technology, but we should ask ourselves what is the proper balance between security and privacy? Some will say that there is a fine line between the two, but we must be willing to take this risk in order to find new ways to stop crimes before they even happen. Being able to find someone in a crowd with a picture is an amazing idea, and Isvision is doing everything in their power to bring it into reality.

  37. marcello bertuzzelli February 23, 2018 at 2:07 pm #

    Facial recognition is the future. That is pretty much the summed up version of my thoughts after reading this article. Chinese security companies have had facial recognition implemented in their systems since 2003, according to their websites. They have been working with police forces to help catch criminals. As time passes, they have come to the realization of all else that can come out of something so technologically advanced and in a sense futuristic.

    This article opened my eyes to the endless possibilities that can come from facial recognition and what we can in fact do with it. I feel as though our future is very bright and shines a light toward something like facial recognition, as this would diminish many other aspects of life. The article stated that china has started to implement such principles in their daily life and that this could get rid of the need for things like boarding passes, keys for buildings, and even credit cards. The industry is growing every day, and our knowledge is expanding even further, however, we still have a bit to go before we are seen as full-blown computer codes.

    The core data set for the national system, containing the portrait information of each Chinese citizen, amounts to 13 terabytes. The size of the full database with detailed personal information does not exceed 90 terabytes, according to technical documents on the ministry’s website and a paper written by police researchers. Therefore, for a population of over a billion people, it is safe to say that we are still a little bit behind as humanity and will need to continue to work hard to expand this ideology and informational system. I do firmly believe though, that given time and effort this facial recognition system will be implemented into everyday life in the future, not only in China, but also worldwide.

  38. Alan Josefsek March 30, 2018 at 9:44 pm #

    This article is a very interesting one indeed. With the largest concentration of people on the planet, China is going above and beyond to create this ingenious system. Ironically, news came out today that the Chinese government will now fine jaywalkers by using facial recognition software. Being that I am in Manhattan a lot of the time, I really like this concept. People literally jump out into the street to save a singular minute; the time it would take to use the crosswalk located no more than two hundred feet away. Anyway, For 40-year-old Mao Ya, the facial recognition camera that allows access to her apartment house is simply a useful convenience. “If I am carrying shopping bags in both hands, I just have to look ahead and the door swings open,” she said. “And my 5-year-old daughter can just look up at the camera and get in. It’s good for kids because they often lose their keys.” But for the police, the cameras that replaced the residents’ old entry cards serve quite a different purpose. Now they can see who’s coming and going, and by combining artificial intelligence with a huge national bank of photos, the system in this pilot project should enable police to identify what one police report. It will use facial recognition and artificial intelligence to analyze and understand the mountain of incoming video evidence; to track suspects, spot suspicious behaviors and even predict crime; to coordinate the work of emergency services; and to monitor the comings and goings of the country’s 1.4 billion people, official documents and security industry reports show. Even though facial recognition allows China to fight crime and thus contributes to public safety, it comes with a long list of limitations. For one, it raises the issue of human rights. Human Rights Watch raised objections when iris scans and fingerprints were made compulsory for the residents of Xin Jiang. And some fear the government will use the information to “clamp down” on petitioners and human rights activists. On top of this, the heavy reliance on facial recognition could lead to data hacks that leak loads of sensitive information, resulting in a security and privacy breach. Moreover, a slight inaccuracy in face detection could lead to a wrongful arrest. Another concern about China’s reliance on facial recognition is that the technology could discriminate against people. The South China Morning Post recently reported that some restaurants employing facial recognition offered discounts based on a machine ranking of the customer’s looks. In other words, customers with “beautiful” features would get better scores and cheaper meals than those with noses the machine deemed too big or too small. These discounts in my opinion are a disgusting ideology, and I can easily see this becoming a large issue in the near future.

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