Chinese police testing panoramic body cameras with facial recognition

Between three and four thousand police officers in China are piloting panoramic body cameras with built-in facial recognition technology, the South China Morning Post reports. The cameras are provided by Beijing-based start-up Nebula Science and Technology, and provide “720 degree” high-definition footage to help police identify suspects and gather video evidence.

The cameras work off the shoulder, and feature gesture-recognition which can track and focus on a subject displaying aggressive behaviour, according to the company.

Nebula CEO and co-founder Shi Pengfei established the company in January 2017, along with classmates from an MBA course. He said that while the original version of its body camera only included local storage, a new version is equipped with 4G and WiFi connectivity to link to a central database of facial images. Police officers in Beijing and Tianjin are currently using these new model cameras, while officers in Wuhan, Inner Mongolia, and Xinjiang are using models without facia and gesture recognition.

Nebula, which exhibited at CES 2018 in Las Vegas, has also developed a “720-degree” closed circuit camera.

As previously reported, Chinese authorities have been developing a massive “Police Cloud,” a facial recognition database, and a system for near real-time facial recognition with CCTVs, despite privacy and human rights criticisms.

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