Chinese railway station police are now wearing face recognition glasses to catch criminals

Just in case you were wondering why that railway cop wouldn’t stop staring at you

This Spring Festival, police stationed at train stations in China are going to be sporting some fancy new eyewear, designed to catch criminals in transit amid the annual travel mayhem.

While these black-tinted specs may look like Google Glass, they are, in fact, government-developed facial recognition glasses that are connected straight to a police database. The glasses can screen passengers and cross-check their information with that of suspected wrongdoers on file.

People’s Daily published photos earlier this week of officers at the bustling Zhengzhou Railway Station in Henan utilizing these new surveillance accessories. According to the report, at least seven suspected criminals and 26 fake ID holders have been caught using the equipment since the beginning of this year.

The glasses also offer officers back at the station the ability to see what the officer at the scene is seeing. Wall Street Journal reporter Fan Wenxin provides an illustration of what one of these command centers looks like.

In China, facial recognition technology is currently being used for all sorts of tasks, from ordering food at KFC to acquiring toilet paper at public restrooms, however, its most significant application is in policing as the government is engaged in building a massive database of personal information taken from its more than 1.3 billion citizens.

Over the past few months, multiple international media outlets have ran reports about how China is experimenting with sophisticated facial recognition and spying technology in the western, restive region of Xinjiang, making it into perhaps the most heavily surveillanced region on earth.

Meanwhile, in December, police in Guizhou province showed off their own massive network of surveillance cameras to the BBC, managing to track down a reporter in the city of 4 million in just 7 minutes.

While China already has some 170 million CCTV cameras, it’s looking to install another 400 million or so in the next three years. These cameras will be able to match your ID card with your face and your face with your car, tracking your movements back one week, recording all of the people that you came into contact with. The network is targeted at not only preventing crime, but predicting it before it happens.

[Images via People’s Daily]