With the rapid development of machine learning in computer vision field, face recognition technology is deployed in most CCTV systems that run by government. On the one hand, some people are concerning that this technology will infringe on their privacy. On the other hand, it's believed by some people that the wide installation of CCTV can significantly reduce the crime rate and help police to solve cases.
The technology itself is neutral. It is who decides whether you are a criminal or not that matters.
Let us first talk about the former point. There are many books and games, like 1984 by George Orwell, or the game Watch Dogs, that discussed this kind of situation: your government builds up a large database and watches everyone. Given that they can access to near all your personal information, it's not hard for them to profile you or even frame you with all their resources. They can not only watch you, but also can they control your thought in multiple means, for instance, by selecting the news you read every day. Once the state machine runs, the freedom and privacy of individuals will be on the brink.
Once in the system, always in the system.Watch Dogs 2
As for the latter one. Yes, indeed, face recognition system can identify criminals in a short time. However, the real question is that who is criminal? Years have passed by, with the censorship in many aspects getting tighter and tighter, our lives are becoming more monotones.
In the beginning, talking about sensitive topics or events covered up by the government was not allowed, one may be arrested if they were spotted. Then harsh criticism would be removed from social media sites.
Later on, the voice of questioning disappeared from the network and newspapers. On 9th June 2019, a netizen questioned the government that, whether the firefighters' equipment was sufficient enough for rescuing a chemical fire. And on the second day, the local police posted a message said they already put the man in prison.
Soon after, the government wants applause from its people. On Chinese national day in 2019, the police announced that they had arrested a man because he said that he was not interested in the military parade.
If everyone applaud the government, then the one with the least loud applause will be put behind the bars.
Just 2 years ago, I thought that business companies were the ones who desperately wanted our data, and ourselves will be digitalised in their massive database, becoming merely one row of data instead of a living individual. https://blog.0xbbc.com/2017/01/whats-behind-and-beyond-the-congested-network/
But as a matter of fact, the government now allies giant companies to collect all sorts of personal information. They know almost everything, like where did you go, when did you go and even what exactly did you do there. For example, AliPay now prefers face verification for everything. If you want to reset your password, the face recognition method will automatically active, just smile to the camera and they can get another sample of your face.
One may argue that this is super convenient! However, AliPay is a company, not a charity after all. To develop and to deploy a system that can identify one out of 1.3 billion people are expensive. Moreover, think of what can be the benefit of AliPay? With numerous cameras, they will know the real you, not just someone on the Internet anymore. The business alliances of AliPay and the government can also take advantage of these data.
In 1993, on the Internet, nobody knows you were a dog. But now, well, everyone knows.