The country already has an Orwellian social credit system and over 170 million CCTV cameras keeping an eye on its citizens night and day. Virtually all of those cameras can be used with facial recognition software to identify citizens in a snap. But now China is rolling out new gait recognition software that can identify someone even if their face is covered–just by analyzing how they walk, reports the AP.
Huang Yongzhen, the CEO of Watrix, one of the companies who make gait recognition software used by China, says their product can identify people from up to 50 meters (165 feet) away–even if their backs are turned to the camera. Speaking to the AP, Huang said:
“You don’t 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.”
But the system does have some drawbacks, including requiring much more powerful computers to analyze footage. That’s because gait recognition requires a sequence of images whereas facial recognition tech just requires AI to analyze a single image. Still, the increased computational requirements are probably of little concern to a government that wants to achieve complete and total surveillance over its citizens.