In a scene reminiscent of the dystopian sci-fi television show Black Mirror, officers in the central city of Zhengzhou are wearing the digital shades amid the crush of travellers heading home during Chinese New Year, the busiest time for the country’s transit system.
So far, the technology has allowed police to arrest seven suspects accused of crimes ranging from human trafficking to hit and runs, as well as another 26 people who were using fake IDs, according to the state-owned People’s Daily, quoting the city’s police department.
The system is part of China’s efforts to build a digital surveillance system able to use a variety of biometric data — from photos and iris scans to fingerprints — to keep close tabs on the movements of the entire population.
The rapid development of the technology has triggered a demand for commercial applications of the technology as well, with gyms, restaurants and even public toilets getting in on the facial recognition game.
The special glasses are being used by four officers positioned at the entrances to Zhengzhou’s east station, according to the People’s Daily.
The glasses have a camera connected to a smartphone-like device that allows the officers to take mugshots of suspicious individuals and compare them to a database back at headquarters.
The app brings up the suspect’s vital information, including name, ethnicity, gender and address.
It also tells officers whether the suspects are on the run from the law, the address of the hotel where they are staying and information related to their internet usage.