As holidays urge people to travel, in China hundreds of millions recently traveled for the Lunar New Year holiday.
The Chinese government utilized the annual opportunity to have police show off a new tool at their disposal to conduct surveillance on crowds: eyeglass mounted mobile facial recognition devices, facial recognition glasses you could say.
In state media this week, the surveillance devices were touted as a way to help Chinese cops catch criminals who try to remain undetected in the annual crowds that flood airports and train stations. The thing is, these “criminals” are often people doing things that are regarded as completely normal, well within the basic rights of people in other places. In China people become “criminals” very easily.
For instance, there was the man who was an online activist in China, a person like the individuals who write articles in the western alternative media. Liu Hu became a criminal, and eventually had his ability to perform basic tasks such as board a flight or a train, or own land revoked. You could say he had his “chip turned off,” but never harmed anyone. Liu Hu belongs to a demographic that is persecuted in China: the thinkers. The most colorful, unique souls alive in China might become criminals.
The facial recognition glasses have already been a factor in deciding the fate of a few people.
7 people wanted by the authorities for alleged involvement with “major criminal cases,” and 26 people traveling under false identities were recently arrested with the aid of the new facial recognition glasses at Zhengzhou’s East Railway station. Using a false identity could probably become necessary for any average free spirited person in China.
The Chinese government closely monitors air and train travel, and people often try to evade travel restrictions with an identity that someone allows them to borrow, or one they stole. Because of surveillance, a massive facial recognition database is possible.
According to the Wall Street Journal:
“China is already a global leader in deploying cutting-edge surveillance technologies based on artificial intelligence. The mobile devices could expand the reach of that surveillance, allowing authorities to peer into places that fixed cameras aren’t scanning, and to respond more quickly.”
“The eyeglass-mounted camera is equipped with facial-recognition technology capable of “highly effective screening” of crowds for fugitives traveling under false pretenses, the official People’s Daily newspaper reported Monday. Its story included images of a policewoman wearing a sunglasses version of the device at a railway station in Zhengzhou, capital of central China’s Henan province.”
The mainstream media articles don’t mind admitting China is a totalitarian nightmare, because they’re on the other side of the geopolitical divide: the US commits war crimes abroad while China does not, but China is a nightmare for its citizens.
“The potential to give individual police officers facial-recognition technology in sunglasses could eventually make China’s surveillance state all the more ubiquitous,” said William Nee, China researcher at Amnesty International.
So who made the glasses for the police? A company based in Beijing called LLVision Technology Co.
However, not a single article one can find on the Internet has pointed out that LLVision Technology Co. was founded a mere 3 and a half years ago: by ex-engineers and experts from Google, Lenovo, and Microsoft.
According to documentation on Made in China.com:
“LLVISION was founded in 2014 by a team of experts and engineers from Google, Lenovo, Microsoft and the China Aeronautics Consortium. Its mission is to help companies realize their Industry 4.0 revolutions with the advent of it Augmented Reality glasses and Enterprise platform.”
Do these facial recognition glasses seem similiar to Google Glass? Because some of the very same engineers from Google could have participated in the creation of these glasses. Exactly which engineers from Google and Microsoft joined LLVision Technology Co. in Beijing, it is unclear as of yet.
Articles from sites such as Engadget noted that LLVision created the glasses for Chinese police, but said little about the company. According to Engadget:
“The Wall Street Journal reports that Beijing-based LLVision Technology Co. developed the devices. The company produces wearable video cameras as well and while it sells those to anyone, it’s vetting buyers for its facial recognition devices. And, for now, it isn’t selling them to consumers. LLVision says that in tests, the system was able to pick out individuals from a database of 10,000 people and it could do so in 100 milliseconds. However, CEO Wu Fei told the Wall Street Journal that in the real world, accuracy would probably drop due to “environmental noise.” Additionally, aside from being portable, another difference between these devices and typical facial recognition systems is that the database used for comparing images is contained in a hand-held device rather than the cloud.”
The CEO of LLVision seems to be a man named Fei Wu. According to his professional profile on Linked In, he is also the Key Part Manager for Lenovo Research, as he was from January 2010 to the present.
That means Lenovo figures are helping the Chinese police state in a major way: and all of the media is silent. This detail is mysteriously left out of every report on this. Fei Wu is apparently an inventor, with 64 US patent applications filed and 39 granted, according to some evidence that can be found at this link via Patent Buddy.
Why is it relevant to learn about these people? To understand the way our world works and what we are subject to, compared to the class above us: Fei Wu is probably not subject to the same type of tyrannical legal pressure as the civilian class of China, as Americans with money are usually not subject to the laws enforced in the drug war.
He’s like the founder of Alibaba, the corporation helping the Chinese government surveil the residents of Hangzhou, China, with cameras linked up to artificial intelligence in what they now call a “smart city.” He is lavish billionaire Jack Ma: a wanna-be celebrity corporate kingpin, who makes headlines about how he is going to become a movie star.
Best believe Jack Ma and Fei Wu can break the laws of China if they want, because they have money. You bet if Fei Wu or Jack Ma want to, they can spark up a joint or violate a minor law: but if a regular citizen of China did that, they might end up with a heavy prison sentence, or even disabled from traveling on trains or flights.
This company is creating non-consumer items, specialized for police use with a feature so the data is stored on the device and not on the cloud: so the civilians get a different type of technology with easily surveilled data, conveniently stored on the cloud and Chinese authorities get facial recognition glasses?
At first this seemed like a common story of the Chinese surveillance grid getting worse as it constantly is, but upon closer inspection this might be something more. This story might suggest that a corporation as big as Google, Microsoft, Lenovo or Apple, might be such an incredible force of power that it would splinter off a team of engineers that could form a company, that within 4 years, could provide a government with some technology that damages its civilians.
So that’s the era we live in: an era where corporations are so powerful, they are on par with government in terms of influence and power. They are technological pioneers: and will make deals with governments that can affect the lives of all civilians living within those borders, whether the people like it or not. Several categories of power could be considered when trying to figure out who runs things. There is government power, corporate power, institutional power (for instance, universities and academic institutions). There is financial power, bankers and such, and there is even occult power, fraternal orders and secret societies.
Whenever a force alters the lives of civilians minding their own business, it becomes the business of the people to understand how the power operates.
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