'Sky Net' tech fast enough to scan Chinese population in one second: report

Updated 2018-03-26 10:04:03

Facial recognition system helps police locate criminals, fugitives

A facial recognition system, which can scan China's population in a second, is being used in 16 Chinese cities and provinces to help police crack down on criminals and improve security.

By using motion facial recognition technology, the system, called "Sky Net," can accurately identify people's faces from different angles and lighting conditions, among others. The system is fast enough to scan China's population in just one second, and it takes two seconds to scan the world's population, Worker's Daily reported over the weekend.

Speed does not affect the system's accuracy. Its accuracy rate is up to 99.8 percent even if the person is in motion.

The system is being used in 16 provinces, cities and municipalities, Yuan Peijiang, one of the system's developers, told the Worker's Daily.

Surveillance cameras in the streets provide police with the location of suspects and missing people; and it follows people's tracks, which may offer police more valuable information, Yuan said.

In the past two years, police arrested more than 2,000 fugitives with the help of Sky Net, the newspaper reported.

Facial recognition technology has also been widely used in counter-terrorism and cracking down on criminals, because once their data has been input, surveillance cameras will identify them once they appear, said Li Wei, a counter-terrorism expert at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations.

It also helped find missing people. In June 2017, the system managed to build facial data of a missing girl in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region simply by scanning the six-year-old girl's photo taken several years ago. The girl was found after she was recorded by a surveillance camera in front of a market.

Li said that the data is safe in the system because the government imposes strict regulations on the data, and prevents it from being used for other purposes.

Western media has been reporting on the Sky Net, and criticizing China for infringing on human rights and stepping up controls over civilians.

Zhao Zhanling, a legal counsel of the Internet Society of China, accused Western media of using a "double standard" in evaluating China because surveillance cameras are everywhere in their countries.

The system serves to improve the accuracy and efficiency of police work, and does not infringe on people's privacy and rights, because facial information is only collected in public places, Zhao said.

In 2017, police in Guiyang, capital of Southwest China's Guizhou Province used their facial recognition system 1,000 times and apprehended 375 people, including 39 fugitives, the police announced.

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