China uses AI software to improve its surveillance capabilities
(Faces that are) partially blocked, masked, or wearing glasses, and low-resolution portraits can also be archived relatively accurately,” according to a tender published in July by the public security department of Henan, China’s third-largest province by population. The tenders examined by Reuters represent a fraction of such efforts by Chinese police units and Party bodies to upgrade surveillance networks by tapping into the power of big data and AI, according to three industry experts interviewed for this story. The documents Reuters reviewed span 22 of Chinas 31 main administrative divisions, and all levels of provincial government, from regional public security departments to Party offices for a single neighbourhood. The new systems aim to make sense of the giant troves of data such entities collect, using complex algorithms and machine learning to create customised files for individuals, according to the government tenders. Half of the tenders said the software would be used to compile and analyse personal details such as relatives, social circles, vehicle records, marriage status, and shopping habits.
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