Hong Kong authorities have access to AI facial recognition software


During 2019, Hong Kong law enforcement authorities had access to AI facial recognition software provided by Sydney-based iOmniscient that can match faces and licence plates from video footage to police databases, but chief executive Carrie Lam's administration and police did not confirm whether they were using it to quash the pro-democracy protests. IOmniscient is also used to find lost children and manage traffic and has users in more than 50 countries. Under Hong Kong's privacy laws, members of the public must be informed if they are subject to surveillance, including matching faces or names to identity markers. A ban on wearing masks (with some exemptions) has made it easier for police to arrest and charge individuals on the spot; police have removed their badges and use flashlights to disrupt media coverage. Face scans are coming into use for identification by banks and ATMs..


Writer: Blake Schmidt

Publication: Japan Times