The Crosswalk Posts Have Eyes (update)
Just a few days after my last blog post about New Crosswalk Signals, More Surveillance in Shanghai, one of my friends spotted one of the new crosswalk displays doing its thing:
So what are we seeing here? Photos of a guy crossing the street illegally, with a close-up headshot (taken from the same video surveillance). The Chinese text 涉嫌违法 repeats several times, and means “suspected of breaking the law.” Note also that rather than using facial recognition and searching the guy’s face in the database, then showing his official ID photo, what we’re seeing is just a cropped headshot from the video footage. No official IDing of the “suspect.”
This is not to say that none of that is possible; it almost certainly is (and already happening all the time). It’s just that the “citizen-facing” display screens are still in a restrained testing mode. Until all the bugs are worked out, people aren’t going to be receiving automatic tickets for crossing the street illegally at crosswalks across Shanghai… yet.
But obviously, our faces are getting scanned even more often than before now, and with additional scans there’s additional data to improve the facial recognition accuracy.