Chinese transit cops deploy face-recognition glasses to spot indebted people, oppressed ethnic/religious minorities and criminals

Originally published at:


why on earth would they prevent folks with debt from riding the train?

Coming to a city near you:

“China is leading the world in the use of surveillance technology, with plans to install 400 million new CCTV cameras (video) nationwide in the next three years, and to build a facial-recognition database that can identify any Chinese citizen within three seconds. The far western region of Xinjiang, where authorities are increasingly tightening surveillance around the majority Muslim population, is turning into a laboratory for testing high-end spying technologies” -Quartz Media



Things are so much easier in the US, where the popo can make their judgements based on skin color alone. /snark


They already have the database, with high-res pictures of every citizen’s face. The government also allows access to that database to companies like Alibaba and TenCent for use in facial recognition used by their mobile payment apps (AliPay and WeChat Pay, respectively).


wow. now that’s some evil right there.

Why do we have trade relations with China again? Are we that desperate to sell soybeans and semiconductors?


So that we can get access to the tech to oppress our own preferred groups.


they can match people with a 10,000-face watchlist…

In a nation of over a billion people? That’s not what you’d call a comprehensive database, is it? Maybe this covers just one city? It sounds like a prototype.

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I read it as a “most wanted” list.


China is still more communist than capitalist, so debt isn’t really the main tool of oppression. As debt serves no useful purpose, it is a bad thing is discouraged.

If you follow the businessinsider link, it says:

The country’s highest court publishes the names and ID numbers of “dishonest people” on its website and restricts those people from flying domestically, using high-speed trains, or enrolling their children at expensive private schools.

Defaulters are also prevented from staying at hotels with three-stars or more. They also face tougher exams if they want to join the civil service, and are charged higher fees for booking cars. The bans work by linking to a person’s ID number. Some people used their passport when travelling to circumvent the ban, but that loophole now appears to be closed.

The site was created by the Supreme People’s Court in an attempt to make people comply with verdicts to repay their debts. Restrictions are placed on “high-expenditure consumption” and “consumption not necessary to sustain normal life or businesses” for individual defaulters as well as the legal representatives and CEOs of companies that default.


This is just BB’s depressingly common thing of connecting together two unrelated articles to make a more outrage-creating whole.

Facial recognition tech like this can’t really handle a large list of targets, the false positive rates get ridiculous. It can’t be used with ‘ethnic minorities and indebted people’ like the summary alludes to. The tech as implemented looks up against a short most-wanted list, and also is used as part of a biometric ID thing similar to what you have at passport control - i.e. it compares your face against the face encoded in your identity document so you can’t use fake ID.

If the target set was actually tens of millions of people, if you want the algorithm to be able to pick those people up it’ll pretty much flag up everyone. It’s impossible. The ethnic minorities thing relates to passports for foreign travel, not the national ID card used for domestic travel.

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Pathetic. Cops in the US do that all the time with no need for any tech gadgets or aids. Just goes to show how useless Chinese cops are.

Today’s news is brought to you by Minority Report.

You beat me to the “coming soon to a city near you” statement. See also the Who’s Watching You episode here:

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