Facial Recognition Software Continues to Advance

You have probably seen one of the recent big-budget spy movies like the BOURNE series where people are watching a video feed in an airport and lock on to the face of a passerby. The computer then zooms in and starts to scan their face. Within seconds, it provides everything from their identity, date of birth, nationality, terrorist group affiliations…everything short of their shoe size and favourite colour.

However, governments are not only using this technology to catch potential terrorists and hi-tech spies. Sometimes, it is proving helpful in discouraging people from committing everyday misdemeanors.

Jaywalking is a major problem in China and the government has been frustrated in their efforts to get citizens obeying the law. The issue is especially problematic for motorists as pedestrians often illegally cross the street in packs, making it impossible for cars to continue, which contributes to traffic slowdowns on already congested streets.

Their solution was to use facial recognition software…not to “take out” perpetrators, but to shame them. Business Standard reports that the system takes the pictures of several jaywalkers and turns them into videos which are shown on big screens at major intersections. Those against the practice say that it violates privacy because the practice reveals some of the individuals’ personal information. Additionally, those caught must also pay a fine, spend time working as a crossing guard, and attend a traffic safety course.

Online commenters seems split on the issue. Some are fine with people being exposed in such a manner, but others feel that the system is flawed and that some of the people being photographed are not actually breaking the law. Such views mirror the debate in this part of the world over red light cameras.

What is your opinion? Do you think authorities over here should adopt such a measure? Click the comment button and let us know!

Jaywalkers in the Philippines. By JoRitchChT (Wikipedia Takes Manila participant) – Uploaded from Wikipedia Takes Manila, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14648160