With Pop Star as Bait, China Nabs Suspects Using Facial Recognition

WSJ.com: WSJD - Technology

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.


AI and robots serve guests at Alibaba's futuristic FlyZoo Hotel, China

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You are definitely not in a science-fiction movie with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robots, but it feels exactly like one as AI and robots serve guests at Alibaba-owned FlyZoo Hotel in Hangzhou, some 170 km southwest of Shanghai, China. Flyzoo Hotel, the first futuristic hotel of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., employs black disc-shaped robots about a meter in height to deliver food and drop off fresh towels, along with their human hotel staff. The 290-room hotel was formally opened to the public in December last year. It serves as an incubator for the technology that Alibaba wants to sell to the hotel industry in the future. This first high-tech, futuristic feature hotel also showcases the power of artificial intelligence as it operates without a receptionist and a concierge.


Chinese police sniff out a fugitive -- literally -- in the case of the telltale hot pot

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China's rapidly evolving surveillance technologies have snared their share of fugitives in recent years. Most of these cases have involved facial recognition cameras, which can detect individual facial features regardless of glasses, hats or masks. There were the 80-odd wanted suspects picked out of crowds of tens of thousands of fans at concerts by Jacky Cheung, a legendary Hong Kong pop star. In April this year, a genius student wanted on suspicion of killing his mother was caught after being on the lam for almost four years. He was nabbed within 10 minutes of entering Chongqing airport, local media outlet Southern Metropolis Daily reported.


Inside the company that makes it possible to transfer money and gain access to buildings by scanning

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In China, face recognition is transforming many aspects of daily life. Employees at e-commerce giant Alibaba in Shenzhen can show their faces to enter their office building instead of swiping ID cards. A train station in western Beijing matches passengers' tickets to their government-issued IDs by scanning their faces. If their face matches their ID card photo, the system deems their tickets valid and the station gate will open. The subway system in Hangzhou, a city about 125 miles southwest of Shanghai, employs surveillance cameras capable of recognizing faces to spot suspected criminals.


Chinese subway stations now let you pay for tickets by scanning your face

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Facial recognition technology is used across China for everything from identifying criminals to measuring students' attention in class. Now, it has debuted a system in its subway that lets you use your face as a ticket. A report from South China Morning Post suggests the subway system in the southern city of Shenzhen has started using facial recognition technology to let folks over 60 years of age register themselves for free subway rides. Other cities such as Jinan, Shanghai, Qingdao, Nanjing, and Nanning are currently experimenting with this system. The technology in Shenzen has been deployed to 18 stations with 28 automatic gate machines and 60 self-service ticket processors.