A man known to the public only as Mr Ao, had a run-in with the law in Zhangshu, China regarding a financial dispute, resulting in him becoming a man wanted by the police.
In order to evade the police, Ao and his wife fled in their car to a concert starring Hong Kong pop star Jacky Cheung, 90 kilometres away at Nanchang's International Sports Center. The popularity of the host ensured that Ao and his wife had 60,000 other concert-goers to blend in with, making it, in his view, impossible for the police to catch him. What Ao didn't notice were the cameras lining the venue's entrance.
China has a nationwide system of over 170,000 CCTV cameras, all of which are bolstered by a state-of-the-art facial recognition system. The country plans to install 400,000 more by 2021.
The concert attracted more than 60,000 visitors, so we paid a lot of attention to its security. We set up several cameras at the ticket entrance, which was equipped with facial recognition technology.
This system was then linked to the police database. The number of people in the venue, along with their identities, would then be easily cross-verifiable.
Said system has regularly been put to use, with 25 people suspected of a crime being arrested at the Qingdao International Beer Festival in the Shandong province in August last year.
Would you feel safer with a system that tracks your movements out in the public? In cases like this, it's certainly very useful, but given the potential for its misuse by government bodies, there's a lot to digest before going all-in.