5G police glasses spark concerns

By Deng Xiaoci Source:Global Times Published: 2019/5/29 20:43:41

Analysts call for laws to prevent invasion of privacy, tech abuse

An employee explains 5G technology at a 5G experience zone located in downtown Shanghai. Residents can try on 5G+VR glasses, and experience 5G phones and other 5G appliances at the zone, which was established to popularize 5G technology among local people. Photo: IC

A debate has erupted on Chinese social media after the release of a commercial showing a police officer using 5G technology-powered glasses to catch suspects.  

While some are concerned that the glasses would invade privacy and abuse 5G technology, more hailed the application, saying it will help the police catch suspects more efficiently. 

Meanwhile, analysts called for laws to set limits during the rapid development of the technology. 

Chen Youxi, a lawyer and  law professor at the Law School of the Renmin University of China, shared the reported commercial of China Mobile's new 5G glasses for police on his personal Sina Weibo account on Tuesday.

In the video, a plain-clothed police officer quickly identifies and locks in on a wanted suspect in a crowded square through the 5G glasses' facial recognition function. 

The policeman also uses the glasses' data services to see through the suspect's disguise, track him and map out capture routes by connecting the glasses to the city surveillance camera system. He even activates a 5G-enabling roadblock on the suspect's escape route. 

The China Mobile logo appears on the 5G glasses and roadblock.

A screen shot from the commercial Chen Youxi posted Photo: Sina Weibo account of Chen Youxi


A screen shot from the commercial Chen Youxi posted Photo: Sina Weibo account of Chen Youxi

"Is this commercial promoting 5G or spreading fear?" Chen, who is followed by 930,000 Weibo users, asked. 

"As high-tech becomes increasingly invasive to personal space, the legal system must protect privacy and rights," he said. 

Before Chen's post, the 5G glasses had already appeared in a popular episode called The Thunder, which was adapted from a true-to-life anti-drug campaign in South China's Guangdong Province in 2013. In the show, police use the glasses to record the drug dealers' trade.

A screen shot from The Thunder Photo: IQIYI

Although analysts said the glasses still remain a prototype, it is already a trend that 5G is making its way into many Chinese cities' public security fields. 

Xiang Ligang, director-general of the Beijing-based Information Consumption Alliance, a 5G communication technology expert group, told the Global Times on Wednesday that applying 5G technology, which provides faster communication, in the public security field would surely enhance law enforcement. 

Many netizens hailed the movement, too, saying it will give criminals no place to hide. They also said they are excited to see police in science fiction films come true. 

In late January, the public security bureau of Nanchang, capital of East China's Jiangxi Province, launched the country's first 5G+VR smart security and protection system with technology companies such as China Mobile and Huawei. 

In April, China's first 5G police station, featuring cutting-edge technology such as AR glass and patrol drones, was also unveiled in Bao'an district in Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong Province, to increase police efficiency. 

Key applications of the 5G technology have enabled real-time ultra-high definition image transmission, facial recognition, police drone patrol and AR smart glasses at the station, media reported.

Posted in: SOCIETY

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