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China says new surveillance tech can ID people from their walk

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Surveillance china body
Watrix
employees demonstrate their firm’s gait recognition software at
their company’s offices in Beijing.

AP

  • Chinese authorities in Beijing and Shanghai say they can now
    identify people just by their walking style and silhouette.
  • “Gait recognition” technology has already been rolled out,
    and is an improvement over facial recognition, the Associated
    Press reported. 
  • The software, Watrix, works by scanning a person and creating
    a model stored on a database.
  • “It can’t be fooled by simply limping, walking with
    splayed feet or hunching over,” Watrix CEO Huang Yongzhen
    said.
  • The software can identify people from 50 meters
    away, even with their backs turned or faces covered, he
    said.

China has rolled out surveillance software in Beijing and
Shanghai which authorities say can identify people from their
walking style, even with their backs turned and faces hidden.

The CEO of Watrix, the company behind the technology, says it
will fix problems with facial recognition software, which
relies on close-up, high-quality images to match people, the
Associated Press reported. 

The software takes a digital model of a person’s silhouette and
walking style from surveillance video and then creates a 3D model
of a person’s style and stance.

It identifies step length, stride length, cadence,
speed, dynamic base, progression line, foot angle, hip
angle, and squat performance,
The Asia Times reported

Security footage is then fed through the software and it will
match people’s walks to the database, Watrix CEO Huang
Yongzhen 
said to AP on Wednesday.


China ID video
Watrix
employees demonstrate their firm’s gait recognition software at
their company’s offices in Beijing, October 31,
2018.

AP

In practice, the software takes 10 minutes to search through one
hour of surveillance video and make a connection.

Huang told AP that his software can identify people from up
to 50 meters (165 feet) away, and is 94% accurate.

Huang said: “You don’t need people’s cooperation for us to
be able to recognize their identity. Gait analysis can’t be
fooled by simply limping, walking with splayed feet or hunching
over, because we’re analyzing all the features of an entire
body.”

Huang also told the state-controlled People’s Daily
newspaper: “A suspect may never be aware that he has been tracked
by the system until he is hunted down,”
The Asia Times reported.



Read more: 

China’s
‘Big Brother’ surveillance technology isn’t nearly as all-seeing
as the government wants you to think.

China’s government is also collecting voice samples from Chinese
citizens so they can identify people through their speech,

Human Rights Watch reported in 2017
. The report says that
Chinese police took 70,000 voice samples from Anhui Province
residents in eastern China, where trials were taking place. 

Voice recognition as a method of identification is tiny in
comparison to facial recognition,
and Chinese police are thought to have one billion faces on
record

China
has been increasing surveillance efforts in the Xinjiang region
as part of the continued crack down on the Uighur Muslims
population
,
many of whom have been sent to re-education camps
.

Huang thinks that gait recognition can be used for other
things too, like spotting elderly people who have fallen down in
the street. 

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