China Facial Recognition Surveillance System Targets Foreigners
China Facial Recognition Surveillance System Targets Foreigners

HENAN PROVINCE, CHINA — The Chinese province of Henan has awarded a contract to build a surveillance system that targets journalists, international students and migrant women, according to the BBC, which adds that it will categorize journalists as either red, yellow or green, based on the degree to which they are considered “harmful.” The system will incorporate cameras that can identify faces partially covered by masks or glasses, and include information from cell phones, social media and travel records.

It will be operated by at least 2,000 officials and policemen, who can search for people by uploading pictures or searching facial attributes, according to Reuters.

Warnings will be set off if a journalist registers at a hotel, buys a ticket or crosses the provincial border in Henan, and they will then be tailed and ‘dealt with’ according to their category.

The contract for the system was put out for tender on July 29, days after foreign journalists were targeted by a nationalist campaign for their reporting on floods in Henan and Human Rights Watch told the BBC: “This is not a government that needs more power to track more people especially those who might be trying to peacefully hold it accountable.” A study this year by Comparitech found that seven in 10 governments are using facial recognition technology on a large scale basis.

China was at the top of its ranking system.