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This City Uses CCTV Cameras And AI to Shame People Wearing Pyjamas in Public

It is expected that China will add 400 million more surveillance cameras across its cities by the end of the year, in addition to the 170 million or so that are already in place. (Images: Twitter and Reuters)

It is expected that China will add 400 million more surveillance cameras across its cities by the end of the year, in addition to the 170 million or so that are already in place. (Images: Twitter and Reuters)

The Chinese city official has since apologised, the way anyone in the Chinese authority is perhaps expected to.

  • News18.com
  • Last Updated: January 22, 2020, 11:08 AM IST
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This city in China thinks wearing pyjamas outdoors is “uncivilized behavior”. And this is the city of Suzhou in China. The Government officials in Suzhou in the Anhui province released pictures of seven citizens wearing their nightwear outdoors, on a WeChat account run by the local government and categorized it as uncivilized behavior. The pictures were captured by surveillance cameras installed in the city. And it wasn’t just photos. These were accompanied by details such as the person’s name and ID card numbers. Later, a city official apologized for this uncalled-for naming and shaming in public and on online platforms. As it turns out, Suzhou city is taking part in a national "civilised city" competition, and that residents were banned from wearing pyjamas in public which apparently pull down the ranking of the city.

In a tweet by Vicky Xiuzhong Xu, a researcher at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute says, “People publicly shamed in China for going out in their PJs. Their surname, picture, and partial ID number made public. Local govt asked people to submit more “uncivilized” PJ photos - 10 bucks for each picture verified.” The officials had a justification for this—and this is the closest one should come to expecting an apology from the Chinese, if at all . “We wanted to put an end to uncivilised behaviour, but of course we should protect residents' privacy,” said the officials said in a statement reported by the BBC.

But if you think this is going to stop, think again. The officials say that they will now blur out the person’s face in the images instead.

It is expected that China will add 400 million more surveillance cameras across its cities by the end of the year, in addition to the 170 million or so that are already in place. Many of these cameras are artificially intelligence, tapping into the massive database that the Chinese authorities have in place to identify citizens using facial recognition.

The scientists at Fudan University working with the Changchun Institute of Optics from the Chinese Academy of Sciences have already developed a 500-megapixel surveillance camera that can identify one person in a crowd of thousands.

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