BEIJING — Facial recognition is popping up all over China, as the government looks to technology to keep track of its people and what they're up to.
According to the Washington Post, Chinese apartments equipped with keyless entry use cameras to scan and verify residents' faces. But although convenient, the technology is also being used by authorities to monitor individuals and identify alleged 'bad guys' and persons of interest.
The project, called 'Sharp Eyes', intends to connect public security cameras with those in private compounds and buildings, to form a nationwide surveillance and data-sharing network.
Sharp Eyes' aim is to compile information on citizens, including criminal and medical records, travel and purchase history, and social media use, and link it to a face and identity card.
Its name derives from a Communist slogan, and is linked to Chairman Mao's attempts to get citizens to spy on each other.
Supposedly, the system can track suspicious behavior to help eliminate crime, which in China can be anything from homicide to speaking out against the government.
Ultimately, the goal is for total surveillance, and in a country where being an ethnic minority or an activist can get you flagged, that prospect is frightening.