China is stepping up its surveillance and security game by expanding its use of high-tech sunglasses with facial recognition technology.
Police first used the Terminator-like sunglasses in February at train stations in Zhengzhou, the capital of the Henan Province, in a move which has no doubt made Arnold Schwarzenegger very proud.
It isn’t the first time Chinese security and surveillance has hit headlines in recent weeks, with the USA’s leading intelligence agencies warning against the use of Chinese-made electronics.
The government has already started expanding the use of the sunglasses across the nation’s police force, indicating that the trial period of the facial-recognition software in Zhengzhou was a success.
LLVision Technology CEO Wu Fei told Wall Street Journal in February that the sunglasses provide “instant and accurate feedback” to police officers.
According to Reuters, the new glasses are being used to target those on the Chinese government’s “blacklist”, which consists mostly of criminals, journalists, human rights activists and other individuals the government deems hostile to its agenda.
The technology was used last weekend during China’s annual parliamentary meeting, where the ruling Communist Party ensured Xi Jinping can rule for life by abolishing presidential term limits.
The sunglasses may look like something out of a sci-fi film, but the unprecedented rise in government surveillance of Chinese citizens shows a more sinister aim, rather than just the safety of the people.
David Bandurski, co-director of the University of Hong Kong’s China Media Project, told Reuters:
“[China’s] leadership once felt a degree of trepidation over the advancement of the internet and communication technologies.
“It now sees them as absolutely indispensable tools of social and political control.”
With a price of A$806, the sunglasses don’t come cheap. However, they could revolutionise facial-recognition for police forces worldwide.