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Zhengzhou, the capital of China’s central Henan province have equipped their Chinese railway police forces with facial-recognition sunglasses. Now cops can keep an eye out for any suspects trying to escape the city via train. The People’s Daily, the communist party’s official newspaper has reported that the innovative eyewear has already identified seven criminals who were on the run.

The facial-recognition sunglasses are connected to a database that specializes in matching travelers with possible criminals. During an interview with The Wall Street Journal, the CEO of LLVision Wu Fei stated that during the initial test the glasses were able to identify faces from a database of 10,000 faces in just 100 milliseconds.

Amongst the seven people caught via the sunglasses have been criminal guilty of crimes as minor as traffic infringements to crimes as severe as human trafficking. They also were able to catch over thirty individuals who were traveling with fake documents.

The government in China has required that people must show documentation when traveling on the railways. The main reason behind this is to stop people with high debts from using high speeds trains and also to prevent religious minorities who had their documents taken from them from making any drastic movements.

Despite the facial recognition glasses just recently being put into police use, the technology behind them has been being used by police for a number of years. The Chinese government is currently creating a system that will be able to identify all 1.3 billion chinese citizens in the time span of three seconds. This is certainly a way to keep an eye on the people.

Of course the security measures being taken by the government are not sitting well with human rights groups. Sophie Richardson, China director of Human Rights Watch has stated, “Chinese authorities seem to think they can achieve ‘social stability’ by placing people under a microscope, but these abusive programmes are more likely to deepen hostility towards the government. Beijing should immediately stop these programmes, and destroy all data gathered without full, informed consent.”

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