Facial recognition tech fights coronavirus in Chinese city – News Vibe24

    Facial recognition tech fights coronavirus in Chinese city - Times of India
    BEIJING: Face recognition technology linked to personal health codes has been released in a Chinese city bordering Myanmar as authorities seek to eliminate a coronavirus outbreak.
    China is one of the most watched countries in the world, with the government rushing to install more than 200 million CCTV cameras to “cover all public spaces” over the past five years.
    Surveillance has been widely used to combat Covid-19 in China, which was the first country to adopt a QR code system to record test results and track contacts.
    However, this is the first public identification of a person used to monitor a person’s movements and state of health as they enter and leave residential areas, supermarkets, transport hubs and other public places.
    “Everyone entering and leaving must have scanned their (health) code and face,” officials in Ruili, Yunnan Province, told reporters on Saturday.
    Ruili discovered 155 cases last week in one of the worst virus outbreaks in months to hit China, according to data released on Tuesday.
    “Security tools such as face recognition cameras, smart door locks and roadblocks (run by police or community volunteers) have been deployed in key areas,” local authorities said in a statement.
    Scanners can also monitor people’s temperatures, China National Radio reported.
    There are no details on how long the database will be stored or whether officials will shut down the system, which is being monitored by the city’s pandemic prevention team once the epidemic is contained.
    Ruili, a city of more than 210,000 people, is a major crossing point for the Museum in neighboring Myanmar, which has seen escalating unrest since the February 1 coup, raising fears that people will flood beyond the Chinese border to escape violence.
    Nearly half of the new cases reported last week were Myanmar nationals, according to the Yunnan Provincial Health Commission, although it was unclear how they got into the city.
    China has adopted a zero risk approach for coronavirus clusters.
    It has greatly reduced the spread of the disease since it first appeared in the central city of Wuhan in late 2019, with harsh border controls, mass testing, locking and high-tech surveillance connections.
    However, the multitude of new health monitoring applications has also raised privacy concerns.
    A widely used tracking and antivirus tracking application developed by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba shared data with police, according to a New York Times investigation in January.
    At the height of the pandemic, police in major cities wore helmets equipped with face recognition and infrared cameras that measured pedestrian temperatures.
    Rights groups have criticized China’s ubiquitous surveillance network, saying it is being used to silence dissent and target ethnic minority groups.

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