Facial recognition increases risk for Hong Kong street protesters


As police began treating every 2019 Hong Kong protest as an illegal assembly attracting sentences of up to ten years in jail, facial recognition offered increased risk of being on the streets, as protesters could be identified and arrested later even if they were in too large a crowd to be picked up at the time. By October, more than 2,000 people had been arrested, and countless others had been targeted with violence, doxxing, and online harassment. On the street, protesters began using concealment accessories such as umbrellas, masks, balaclavas, and protective headgear such as gas masks and helmets, as well as the tactic of destroying cameras. A ban on masks enabled police to charge protesters on the spot. Online, protesters began locking their accounts and adopting pseudonyms despite years of posting under their real identities; however, social networks were not built by people who thought about their use in countries where protest has been criminalised.


Writer: Trey Smith

Publication: The Verge