This coming June, British author George Orwell's dystopian novel, "Nineteen Eighty-Four," marks the 70th anniversary of its publication. In the United States, Penguin has announced plans for a special 75,000-copy reprint. According to The New York Times, the publisher noted that, sales of the novel have increased by 9,500 percent since the inauguration of U.S. President Donald Trump. Demonstrating remarkable foresight, Orwell envisaged a terrifying future in which a "Big Brother" government would harness tools to watch each and every one of us. When Winston Smith, the book's protagonist, wanted to meet his illicit lover, he was forced to take extreme measures to avoid a two-way device called a "telescreen," described as follows: "The telescreen received and transmitted simultaneously. Any sound that Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it, moreover, so long as he remained within the field of vision which the metal plaque commanded, he could be seen as well as heard."
The arrests spurred a splash of publicity from state media, who are crowning Mr. Cheung--one of the Hong Kong megastars known as the "Four Heavenly Kings"--with a new title: "The Nemesis of Fugitives." China's police departments have been openly touting their use of technology to nab lawbreakers--a campaign that rights activists say is aimed at winning public support for growing state surveillance. Concert organizers in China have also increasingly deployed facial-recognition systems to curb scalping by verifying the identities of ticket-holders. Surveillance companies and local security agencies have experimented with deploying the technology at events around the country in recent years. The tests date back to 2015, when one company, Shenzhen-based Firs Technology Co. Ltd. said its facial-recognition system helped police identify drug-users, fugitives and ex-convicts at a jewelry exhibition in the city of Chenzhou, in central China's Hunan province.
Looks like the Chinese surveillance state is really up and running, guys! Chinese state news agency ECNS reported Thursday that police used facial recognition-enabled cameras to catch a criminal suspect amongst a crowd of 60,000 concert-goers. The suspect, identified as Mr. Ao, was wanted "in connection with an economic dispute." Ao and his wife had traveled about 55 miles to see a Hong Kong pop star, Jacky Cheung, in concert at the Nanchang International Sports Center. Facial recognition cameras identified him at the concert's entrance, and police apprehended Ao amidst the crowd.
China has installed over 20 million cutting-edge security cameras in what is believed to be the world's most advanced surveillance system. The camera system, facilitated with artificial intelligence technology, is part of the'Sky Net' operation, which is China's anti-corruption programme mainly aimed to track down fugitives. Such technology can identify a pedestrian or a motorist, which can help policemen in their search for criminals. The new technology can identify a person's age, gender and colour of clothes (left). Video footage posted by China Central Television in a documentary today displays what a real-time CCTV captures on screen.