Watch: Crazy 5G Police Chase Ad, Now Showing in China

A commercial for China Mobile demonstrates the power of facial recognition tech and surveillance in China

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4:57 PM HKT, Wed May 29, 2019

This commercial for the power of 5G-powered AI technologies from communications network China Mobile has been popping up on people’s WeChat feeds in China recently, demonstrating the reach of facial recognition and the surveillance society.

It kicks off with a cyborg-looking police guy tracking a suspect at People’s Square metro station in the heart of Shanghai using facial recognition glasses and… well, it get’s crazier from there.

Check it out:

“Does this advertisement promote 5G or terror?” asks one user, a lawyer, on microblogging platform Weibo. “As technology increasingly intrudes into our personal space, the protection of personal privacy by legal boundaries must keep pace. While attacking a very small number of criminals, we should protect the right to normal life of the overwhelming majority of good people.”

“If Verizon put out an ad like this, the media would destroy them,” writes another commenter.

Facial recognition tech has been widely adopted in China, and is used for everything from riding the metro to caring for stray cats. However, it has also been widely implemented by the authorities, with cameras now present on every street corner in major cities. This has led to a number of high-profile arrests, but also understandably led to widespread unease, while in areas such as Xinjiang the Chinese authorities have been accused of using “high-tech surveillance to subdue minorities”.

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