In China, facial recognition technology — biometric computer applications that automatically identify an individual from a database of digital images — is a part of daily life.
Already about 200 million surveillance cameras are scattered around the country — to track big spenders in luxury retail stores, catch identity thieves, prevent violent crime, find fugitives, catch sleeping students in the classroom and even snag jaywalkers. In fact, nearly every one of its 1.4 billion citizens is in China’s facial recognition database.
AI companies believe surveillance and face recognition technology will make the country safer, and in the U.S. the tools are increasingly being used with law-enforcement agencies. But civil liberties advocates believe the issues of error and privacy may outweigh the security value.
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