Chinese authorities used AI-powered facial recognition to catch a fugitive in a crowd of 60,000 people attending a pop concert in China
The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic is finally here. Thousands of athletes have arrived in China to compete in the Winter Games that officially opened yesterday February 4, 2022. The Games are will come to an end at the Closing Ceremony, scheduled for 20 February 2022.
However, the event has also raised concerns from the US government, especially the FBI. Considering all kinds of digital threats to the Olympics and China’s record on surveillance, the FBI told athletes going to Beijing to bring a burner phone. The FBI is right and the athletes, especially the ones from the United States have all the reasons to be worried.
As we reported early this month, China has the world’s largest video surveillance network with plans to expand it to more than 600 million surveillance cameras in just a few years. Besides, the Chinese government uses some of the world’s most sophisticated systems of electronic surveillance, including facial recognition.
Thanks to the technology developed by the Chinese AI facial recognition startup SenseTime, millions of Chinese citizens’ faces are tracked, scanned on a daily basis, and their behavior is monitored and scrutinized using artificial intelligence and facial recognition technology. With big data and analytics, the government is able to store petabytes of scanned images and analyze them in near real-time.
Today, many Chinese cities are already using millions of AI-powered security surveillance cameras and facial recognition systems to name and shame minor offenders, spot criminals or suspects among crowds of people. They are also using them to identify citizens and or verify the identities of passengers at airports or everywhere.
In addition, China’s police are also using sunglasses with built-in facial recognition with AI to identify and catch criminals, and those traveling people who use false identities. That’s not all. In recent years, China has successfully used AI-powered facial recognition to fight crime and arrest fugitives. What’s even creepier is that China has developed an AI technology to predict how likely a person is to commit a crime.
A few years ago, China Daily reported that a Chinese fugitive was arrested after an AI-powered facial recognition system was used to alert authorities about his presence in a crowd of 60,000 people attending a pop concert. The crime suspect was caught at a concert in Nanchang, Jiangxi province, thanks to a facial recognition system.
“The 31-year-old suspect, surnamed Ao, from Zhangshu, Jiangxi province, was wanted by police in connection with an economic dispute in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region,” China Daily said.
Using facial recognition to identify suspects is nothing new in China. According to the paper, “Facial recognition systems have led to the capture of a number of other suspects, as the technology has been adopted more widely in public places. In August, police in Qingdao, Shandong province, arrested 25 fugitives with the help of a facial recognition system set up at the Qingdao International Beer Festival.”
“The concert attracted more than 60,000 visitors, so we paid a lot of attention to its security,” said Li. “We set up several cameras at the ticket entrance, which was equipped with facial recognition technology.” The facial recognition system is connected to the Chinese police database and the number of people in the audience could be calculated, and identities could be determined by making comparisons.