China's police have been testing sunglasses with built-in facial recognition since around last month to catch suspects and those travelling under false identities. Now, China is expanding the facial recognition sunglass program as police are beginning to use it on the outskirts of Beijing. The program was used as extra security while Parliament voted to extend Xi Jinping's presidency to a lifetime rule and paralleled the increased censorship and surveillance measures seen throughout China.
Police use the sunglasses to check travellers and car registration plates against the government blacklist before Parliament's annual meeting this past weekend. The Chinese government has a list of people who are not allowed to enter the meeting and might face additional enforcement action. The blacklist includes criminals, journalists, political dissidents, and human rights activist, among others.
The glasses have been previously tested in train stations in Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan Province. By February 8th, the police had allegedly caught seven suspects, and 26 travellers using false identities.
The sunglasses are controlled by a mobile unit and cost $636 (3,999 RMB) with an additional cost for facial recognition. It gives police instant and accurate feedback compared to the lag and static of using facial recognition through CCTV's, Beijing-based LLVision Technology’s CEO Wu Fei told the Wall Street Journal last month.