Over the years, the Chinese government has deployed a number of high-tech techniques including facial recognition systems to track citizens in the country particularly criminals and suspects.
Now it seems like things getting harder for the government and the Chinese authorities have now decided to use a new method of surveillance – “gait recognition” The tool is aimed to identify people based on their gait (how they walk). The advantage of the system is it can recognize people even when their faces are hidden from the camera.
The system has already been used by police on the streets of Beijing and Shanghai which indicates that the Chinese government might use artificial-intelligence and data-driven surveillance in the future to track suspects and criminals.
According to Huang Yongzhen, the CEO of Watrix, the company who created the system, the advantage of such a system is, “it does not need people’s cooperation for us to be able to recognize their identity. 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.”
According to Chinese media reports, last month Watrix announced that it had collected $14.5 million to boost the development and sale of its gait recognition technology.
He said that the system is so powerful that it can identify individuals from up to 50 meters (165 feet) away, even with their back turned and face covered. This technology is one step ahead than facial recognition, which requires high-resolution images of an individual’s face to work.
Nixon, a leading expert on gait recognition at the University of Southampton in Britain said, “People still don’t recognize they can be recognized by their gait, whereas everybody knows you can be recognized by your face. We believe you are totally unique in the way you walk.”