China to identify citizens based on their walk

The software works by scanning a person and creating a 3D model stored on a database

China is home to the world’s largest network of CCTV cameras, but now its surveillance efforts have reached a whole new level with technology that can detect individuals based on their walking style and silhouette. Developed by a Chinese surveillance company, Watrix, the new system for "gait recognition" can identify people up to 165m away based on their walk. This means that if a person is wearing a mask or is at an awkward angle, the software can use existing footage to detect them, by analysing person's step length, stride length, cadence, speed, dynamic base, progression line, foot angle, hip angle, and squat performance.

Yet, while Watrix claims its technology has a 94 percent accuracy rate, analysis is not done live and in real-time. According to Huang Yongzhen,CEO of Watrix, however, the software works utterly effectively and it is impossible to fool it  by limping or other out-of-the-ordinary stances because it analyses a person's entire body. Furthermore, Huang believes that this technology will actually help Chinese citizens, such as when an elderly person falls over.

Police in Beijing and Shanghai have already started integrating the gait recognition in their work, as part of China's push to develop data-driven AI surveillance around the country. Besides law enforcement, however, media reports have shown that China has deployed surveillance technology for more sinister purposes that include controlling its people. It's especially scary for some ethnic minorities groups within China, as security officials in the Muslim-majority western province, Xinjiang, have expressed interest in utilising the software. This is on top of the already-established facial recognition technology that has been implemented in Xinjiang. People of this far-western region, known as Uighurs, have been detained, tortured and forced to do things against their beliefs in what China calls "vocational education and training." China has rejected UN claims of mass internment - which it made public in August of this year - saying that the reports were politically motivated.

Gait recognition itself isn't a new technology, as scientists in Japan, the UK and the US Defence Information Systems Agency have all been researching it. It just hadn't been commercialised, well, until Watrix entered the space. 

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