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Jaywalking to be tackled with facial recognition technology in China, violators could be shamed publicly

China intends to tackle jaywalking menace in the country with facial recognition technology, a media report said.

Jaywalkers would run the risk of being identified and have their photos and personal details splashed in public to shame them for breaking the law, Xinhua news agency reported. Facial recognition is becoming increasingly common in China, where it has been installed in ATM machines, KFC restaurants, female university dormitories and even public toilets to save toilet paper.

Following the instalment of the technology in Jinan in May at traffic cross-sections, there has been photographic proof of more than 6,000 cases involving pedestrians and non-motorized vehicles jumping red lights. Cities in Fujian, Jiangsu, Guangdong and Shandong provinces have also started using the technology.

The facial recognition equipment takes several snapshots and a 15-second video when it detects pedestrians crossing the intersection on a red light. The photographs appear on a screen immediately. So the offender can see they have been caught. Traffic management authorities have installed the facial recognition equipment and the screens at major intersections to tackle jaywalkers and encourage road safety.

Within 20 minutes of breaking the traffic rule, the offender’s photograph and personal information such as their ID number and home address are displayed on the screen at the crossroad. The personal details are first cross-checked with provincial police department database to confirm accuracy. Traffic police then contact the offenders and give them a choice: they can either pay a fine of around $3 or take a half-hour traffic rule course or assist the police in controlling traffic for 20 minutes.

Offenders also run the risk of getting their information published on the social media. “Since the new technology was adopted, jaywalking cases have reduced from 200 to 20 each day at the major intersection,” a traffic official said.

There will be facial recognition equipment installed at 50 major intersections in Jinan alone by the end of June. Each piece of equipment costs around $14,600. However, the rapid and extensive application of the technology has raised privacy concerns.

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