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Chinese government uses facial recognition to alert authorities to individual’s movements


The Chinese government has begun using facial recognition to alert authorities when specified individuals in restive Xinjiang leave “safe areas” designated for them, Bloomberg reports.

State-run defense contractor China Electronics Technology Group is leading the project, which is focussed on the southern part of the region, a source told Bloomberg, as part of the two-year old domestic surveillance campaign, Xue Liang. The alerts are triggered when individuals travel more than 300 meters beyond an area made up of their homes and workplaces.

Xinjiang, which is home to a minority population of roughly 10 million Muslim Uighurs, has been the initial site of many surveillance programs involving biometrics, and where police are reported to have biometric collection quotas.

Facial scans are necessary in the region for people to shop in markets, buy fuel, or enter certain public areas, according to Bloomberg.

China is estimated to make up 46 percent of the global video surveillance market totalling $17.3 billion this year, with three quarters of all deep learning servers, according to HIS Markit senior principle analyst Jon Cropley.

As previously reported, the Chinese government expanded its biometrics collection program in Xinjiang last year.

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