A police officer wears a pair of smart glasses with facial recognition at Zhengzhou East Railway Station in China's central Henan province. It doesn't link a system of killer robots ticked off at the human race (just yet). But Chinese police are expanding the use of futuristic facial recognition tech powered by a system dubbed "Skynet" to track a database of blacklisted individuals. Unlike in the "Terminator" franchise where Skynet is controlled by machines to connect genocide-minded bots, this version is a tool for law enforcement and security that's being tested out for added security at two sessions of China's parliament this year, according to Reuters. The technology is the same we saw Chinese police use last month to monitor travelers leading up to Chinese New Year.
Facial recognition technology will change the world. Still emerging into the mainstream, facial recognition technology has the potential to reshape that way you interact with the fringes of both the digital and real world. For the uninitiated, facial recognition is a biometric technology that scans people's face, photographs and recognizes them as an individual. Impressively, the technology can identify facial features like the space between the eyes, the depth of the eyes sockets, the width of the nose, cheekbones and the jawline.
Facial recognition technology is the single biggest tool for authorities to keep an eye on suspected (and unsuspected) individuals; but thanks to Snowden leaks, it would appear that most of the victims of such technologies have been unsuspected users. The growing use of facial recognition technology at airports in the United States to its misuse in China to track minorities; it all raises serious concerns over user privacy and in particular, just how much do authorities know about you. See: One out of Two American Adults Part of the FBI's Facial Recognition Database For instance, in Southeast China, the police used facial recognition technology to locate and detain a suspect among a crowd of over 60,000 people. The incident occurred at a pop concert where the popular Hong Kong singer Jacky Cheung was performing, a concert attended by the suspected fugitive. The problem is that the same technology can be used to track and oppress anyone hiding from brutal regimes.
Facial recognition software has become increasingly common in recent years. Facebook uses it to tag your photos; the FBI has a massive facial recognition database spanning hundreds of millions of images; and in New York, there are even plans to add smart, facial recognition surveillance cameras to every bridge and tunnel. But while these systems seem inescapable, the technology that underpins them is far from infallible. In fact, it can be beat with a pair of psychedelic-looking glasses that cost just $0.22. Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University have shown that specially designed spectacle frames can fool even state-of-the-art facial recognition software.