The all-seeing eye of Chinese surveillance is going international.
Malaysian cops are buying into Chinese facial recognition tech
Malaysian police have been equipping its officers with body-mounted cameras which use Chinese facial recognition technology to identify suspects.
The cameras use cutting-edge facial recognition capabilities designed by the Chinese artificial intelligence start-up Yitu Technology.
The system enables officers to compare and match images captured by the body camera with those stored in the police database.
“This is a significant step forward for us as we leverage artificial intelligence to increase public safety and security. Looking ahead, [the Malaysian police] also intends to expand the capabilities of our body-worn camera system to include real-time facial recognition and instant alerts to the presence of persons of interest from criminal watch lists,” said Dato’ Rosmadi Bin Ghazali, chief executive of the Auxiliary Force, part of the Royal Malaysia Police Cooperative.
China is home to a number of leading AI companies. The country accounted for 48% of the total $15.2 billion raised by AI start-ups worldwide last year, outstripping the 38% raised by US firms, according to American research firm CB Insights.
The world’s most populous country is also en route to creating a national facial recognition system that would be connected to cameras, with the ability to recognize any of the country’s citizens in less than three seconds.
Earlier this month, facial recognition tech was used to apprehend a fugitive who attended a pop concert in China. His face was identified from a crowd of some 50,000.
Founded in 2012, the Shanghai-based start-up Yitu, said three seconds is all it takes to identify someone from the 1.4 billion faces stored in China’s national databases.
Public security agencies have been the major source of demand for Yitu’s technology so far, Lin Chenxi, one of the two co-founders said in an interview in November.
Yitu’s facial recognition software has been widely used for safety and surveillance purposes in China. It is used by banks to verify ATM transactions, while surveillance cameras at borders are using it to match and cross-reference travelers with national databases to identify smugglers and illegal entrants.
The solution from Yitu is also being used for security at Chinese tourist location including ports, and public spaces which require high safety standards. In its first three months of operation, it has helped Shanghai’s Metro operator to apprehend 567 lawbreakers, according to the company.
The global facial recognition market is forecast to be worth $6.5 billion by 2021, up from $2.3 billion in 2016, according to estimates by research company Technavio.