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.

Posted in Ideas, International, Law, Technology and tagged , , .


  1. 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.

  2. 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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