China has unveiled a 500-megapixel or 500-million-pixel facial recognition camera that can identify each face in a crowd of tens of thousands of people.
Chinese scientists have developed a camera five times the resolution of the human eye of 120 million pixels, enabling it to take very detailed pictures and identify individuals from tens of thousands on the streets or sports stadiums.
This camera has the ability to take panoramic images with a clear picture of each human face, something that can be used in very crowded public places.
The camera is designed taking into account military and national applications, defense and security, so that it can serve as a guard in military bases, satellite launch rules and national borders to prevent suspicious people and objects from entering or leaving.
This development raises further concerns about civil liberty about the fast-moving surveillance technology associated with artificial intelligence, and researchers called the camera “super camera.”
China currently has an estimated 200 million cameras (CCTVs) monitoring its citizens, and over the past few years, the country has built a social credit system that generates a score for every citizen based on their life data, in order to assess 1.4 billion people and more than 30 million companies.
The system rewards good behavior with additional privileges, such as access to better schools and universities, and prevents low-graders from traveling or getting government jobs, and is expected to be formally implemented next year.
The current CCTV network is a central tool for collecting data on Chinese citizens, but the cameras are not powerful enough to capture a clear picture of someone’s face in a crowd.
The new 500-megapixel camera helps to remedy this. Artificial intelligence allows the camera to scan the audience and identify a person within seconds.
Samantha Hoffman, an analyst at the Australian Institute for Strategic Policy, said the Chinese government has huge databases of people.
“The data from surveillance cameras can be used in a range of data, along with artificial intelligence processing, allowing the creation of social control tools, including those associated with the social credit system.”
China is home to widely used face recognition technology there to identify criminals, monitor student attention, and even allow citizens to buy train tickets.