China is implementing a new software that can identify people by their body shape and the way they walk.
The ‘gait recognition’ system can identify people up to 50 metres away, even if their face is covered or their back is turned, according to Watrix — the company that designed the system, according to The Next Web.
The tool is currently being tested by police in Shanghai and Beijing and is part of an effort by the Chinese government to use Artificial Intelligence and data to supercharge its already widespread surveillance system.
The People’s Republic of China is already in the process of introducing a controversial Social Credit System that penalises citizens for ‘anti-social’ behaviour and rewards them for being compliant citizens of the state.
This new system, doesn’t need special cameras to work. It uses CCTV cameras already installed all over the country — which are estimated to be more than 170 million. As of right now, it does not analyse footage from these cameras in real time, it takes 10 minutes to analyze the data and identify citizens.
“You don’t need the people’s cooperation for us to be able to recognize their identity,” Huang, the CEO of Watrix, said. “Gait analysis can’t be fooled by simply limping, walking with splayed feet or hunching over, because we’re analyzing all the features of an entire body.”