China is making progress on a surveillance system that will connect security cameras nationwide via a cloud to a database of every person’s facial ID profile and a file of their personal details, according to an article in the South China Morning Post. The article has led to a discussion as to whether the system already exists and what its potential dangers might be. 

The SCMP piece updates the story on the Chinese government’s plan to implement a national system that could use surveillance cameras to identify any one of China’s 1.3 billion people, within 3 seconds and with at least 88% accuracy. The project has been underway since 2015 and various different technology companies have been involved and it is facing some technical difficulties.

According to the SCMP investigation, a commercial application using information sourced from the database is not allowed at present (although a change of policy could make this possible).

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Frank Hersey

Frank Hersey is a Beijing-based tech reporter who's been coming to China since 2001. He tries to go beyond the headlines to explain the context and impact of developments in China's tech sector. Get in...