China 'trials facial recognition technology to track Muslim-dominated villages'

China 'trials facial recognition technology to track Muslim-dominated villages'

The technology is reportedly being used for security (Stock image)

Thursday, January 18, 2018

China is testing facial recognition systems to monitor when people leave designated "safe areas" in Muslim-dominated villages in Xinjiang.

This is according to an anonymous source linked to the project, the South China Morning Post reported.

The system reportedly means security cameras are linked to a database of people of interest to authorities. When they are identified the system can then track where they go.

There are around 10 million Muslim Uygurs, which is a Turkic ethnic group, living in the area and new tracking technologies have often been trialled there, part of President Xi Jinping's fight against Islamic extremism.

Xi announced a "strike first" policy after attacks which involved Uygurs in both 2013 and 2014. There are already several checkpoints and security cameras in the area and local governments have even asked people to install tracking systems in their cars.

Residents are also already subject to face scans when they visit markets or the main bus terminal, or try to purchase fuel.

The new project is said to be led by state-run defence contractor China Electronics Technology Group. It is not clear which areas of the community will be affected by the system.