China installed new surveillance in Tibet ahead of 1959 anniversary

Facial Recognition. Credit: Shutterstock & Naked Security
Facial Recognition. Credit: Shutterstock & Naked Security
Facial Recognition. Credit: Shutterstock & Naked Security
13th March 2019

Facial recognition cameras installed in Lhasa taxis ahead of 10 March.

Chinese authorities have helped install facial recognition surveillance across 200 new taxis in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa ahead of the anniversary of the 10 March 1959 uprising, Tibet Watch and Chinese state news organisation, The Global Times reported.

A bus and taxi company in Lhasa has introduced the new surveillance-equipped cars with support from the Chinese-led Lhasa Government and Traffic Management Bureau.

The cameras use biological recognition and big data analysis to identify drivers and monitor their bio information.

They scan the faces of drivers before a journey, allowing the car to start once a match between the vehicle and the driver is made. If no match is found an alarm is set off in the car.

The cars combine facial recognition with GPS tracking so authorities can monitor the driver's behaviour. This monitoring reportedly includes spotting illegal driving, or other activity like renting a car out to others or talking on the phone while on the road.

"If the driver doesn't match the car, we will draw back the car, criticize and educate the driver who rented the car to others illegally. If the circumstances are serious, we will even ask the driver to stop driving or terminate his or her contract," Cui Shaoyou, the Vice General Manager of the transport company told the Global Times.

The Global Times claims the cameras, which have been introduced in the lead up to 10 March, make journeys safer and more convenient for passengers.  

The rollout adds to the existing “grid” system of surveillance and security already established in Lhasa, where there’s a large network of police stations, travel is restricted and communications are often monitored.

China also introduced a new internet regulation earlier this year called ‘standards for the investigation of short video contents of the internet’ which bans short films from discussing subjects such as Tibetan independence. It has one hundred rules prohibiting contents including 'reactionary' flags, the 'splitting' of China, independence issues relating to Taiwan, Xinjiang and Hong Kong, besides banning other video materials, Tibet Watch said.

Information supplied, in part by Tibet Watch.