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China Privacy Network Security Transportation

China Working On 'Repression Network' Which Lets Cameras Identify Cars With Unprecedented Accuracy (thesun.co.uk) 80

schwit1 shares a report from The Sun: Researchers at a Chinese university have revealed the results of an investigation aimed at creating a "repression network" which can identify cars from "customized paintings, decorations or even scratches" rather than by scanning its number plate. A team from Peking University said the technology they have developed to perform this task could also be used to recognize the faces of human beings. Essentially, it works by learning from what it sees, allowing it to differentiate between cars (or humans) by spotting small differences between them. "The growing explosion in the use of surveillance cameras in public security highlights the importance of vehicle search from large-scale image databases," the researcher wrote. "Precise vehicle search, aiming at finding out all instances for a given query vehicle image, is a challenging task as different vehicles will look very similar to each other if they share same visual attributes." They added: "We can extend our framework [software] into wider applications like face and person retrieval [identification] as well."
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China Working On 'Repression Network' Which Lets Cameras Identify Cars With Unprecedented Accuracy

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    We already know our police drive around parking lots scanning license plates. This builds up a nice amount of location data of where the vehicle goes. Since it's in the public space, they get to do this.

    I wouldn't be surprised if any public cameras or perhaps red light cameras weren't sending location data of each and every car either.

    It's terrible and we as a society shouldn't tolerate it, but the majority will let it happen until things all fall apart. Unfortunately just how most of us humans are.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 10, 2017 @08:55PM (#54987753)
    If the network is ran in US, it is a "freedom" network. Spreading freedom can also mean dropping bombs and starting wars oversea.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Don't forget that the CCTV networks in the UK are "crimefighting" and "freedom inducing." And that the EU endorses identification and tracking of its subjects in order to protect them from the horrors of Not Being Forgotten when they do publicly stupid shit.

    • I found a member of the 50 Cent Army! [wikipedia.org] ;)

      • There are plenty of home-grown cynics, now vastly expanded in numbers since the US started wholesale spying on its own citizens, and even now continues to fight to push backdoors into our encryption "for our own protection." I'd posit that our three-letter agencies and colluding leadership have done far more to alienate its own citizens' trust in their government than the collective effort of all the paid 50 Cent Army shills over the past decade.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        He's right though. I can see this coming to the UK already, as an upgrade for the existing number plate recognition camera system that covers the entire country. We already have additional face scanning cameras that photograph and record the biometric data of ever driver who enters or leaves the greater London area.

        The last lot were billed as "denying criminals use of the roads", which of course was bollocks and never happened. The face scanning cameras were quietly signed off my the mayor of London without

        • The Brits have already discovered that when some event occurs that could be investigated using the nation's plethora of public cameras, that Big Brother happens to be off at the pub that moment and not at the police station monitor. This has led to increasing interest in automated interpretation of received images. License plate identification is an obvious first step, but the authorities are going to be very interested in this Chinese tech.

        • This is even better if you combine it with the existing number plate recognition. Then you can see if the plate matches the car. That would trip up a number of criminals, I bet. Of course, who knows how well this really works, because new cars are generally pretty identical. I'm guessing that it gets more accurate the older cars are, as they accumulate physical changes.

      • I agree with your evaluation.
    • If the network is ran in US, it is a "freedom" network.

      Yet an American is four times more likely to be arrested and incarcerated by their government than a Chinese citizen.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Chinese citizens just become organ donors and disappear if they do something wrong.

      • Apparently true [wikipedia.org]. But that statistic is meaningless without knowing why people are incarcerated. You seem to be implying that the U.S. is more repressive than China. But note that the U.S. has more than six times the homicide rate [wikipedia.org] of China. It would seem that the U.S. just has more violent criminals than China does.
    • by damaki ( 997243 )
      In france, years ago, CCTV name was changed from videosurveillance to the newspeak compliant videoprotection. Gotta love this.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Mass-surveillance is really a sword with two edges. It's really useful for crime investigation and stuff, but there's also the usual "muh privacy" concerns.

    How can we find a balance?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Easy. We need to constantly monitor the activities of all the sexy, hot young female celebrities. Especially in the shower and locker rooms. For their protection.
      And then leave all of us ugly bastards alone.

      Perfect balance IMHO.

    • How can we find a balance?

      At least on the road, we can't. Pea sized high-res cameras cost $3 in bulk. Soon there will be a dozen built into every car, facing forward, rearward, sideways, and oblique, as well as internal cameras to monitor the gaze and alertness of the driver. Every intersection will have a camera watching every lane. If you want privacy, go home, lock the door and pull down the blinds.

      • If you want privacy, go home, lock the door and pull down the blinds.

        Even that is insufficient.

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      How can we find a balance?
      Most nations looked at the UK and its CCTV ideas around the early 1990's.
      The Irish problem was getting interesting.
      Interesting people who had spent decades in the UK had no accents. No looking for new jobs or needing a new home in the UK. No very easy to report direct links to Ireland when renting or buying a home.
      Their jobs and paperwork was a good as any other person in any city area going back a generation or more.
      To counter such interesting people the UK had to surround
      • > To counter such interesting people the UK had to surround its city areas with CCTV.

        From experience in a visit to the UK: the paranoia about governments collecting personal informiton, described the novel "1984" was well justified. I'm afraid that the result of the enormous volumes of data is closer to that depicted in the movie "Brazil". They're not organized enough to use the data effectively, and the result is bureaucratic chaos. The chaos is funding efforts to scan the data for useful information, b

        • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
          Re: "Fortunately for ordinary citizens, they don't seem well enough organized to use it effectively for large scale political repression."
          The idea for now is just enough time to get the mil to a van, truck, car or bus in time.
          A new look Mobile Support Unit directed by voice prints, cell use, wifi and driver facial recognition.
          Collect it all with local results.
    • A simple measurement of how many crimes, of what type, are reported and prosecuted would be useful to assess its value. A similar report of its misuse and abuse would be useful, as well, but harder to gather from the agencies that collect the data.

    • but there's also the usual "muh privacy" concerns.

      For these sorts of cameras, it's useful to be specific about exactly why the privacy concerns are there: because these systems expose innocent citizens to the whims of law enforcement and government. It's less a pure "privacy" thing and more a self-protection thing.

  • Just looking at the technology alone, it seems like this would be a problematic system, especially if you want to evade it. Car scratches and dents can be repaired, increase in number or even be faked (decals). Something as simple as your car being dirty and then cleaning it would fool such a system until it read your plate again. However, this just means it's good for short term recognition using high resolution cameras. The same applies for using it on people.

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Re "Something as simple as your car being dirty and then cleaning it would fool such a system until it read your plate again"
      The few cars that failed reading both front, back plates and driver facial recognition?
      New RFID registration https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] ?
    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      Something as simple as your car being dirty and then cleaning it would fool such

      If it's combined with plate reading and the same car keeps changing profile, you'd get put on the Suspicion List and watched more. I suppose you could trick it a couple of times, but keeping that up risks triggering the fiddling flag. (Now why does that sound perverted?)

    • I was going to mod you up, but then decided to reply. I don't think the push is really for cars. The real effront (sp. ;-) is to get cheap viable facial recognition in the wild. The Digital Panopticon is almost upon us. This is going to become a very serious issue in the next decade.
    • by OFnow ( 1098151 )
      Fake scratches (easily removable and changeable) will make this useless in the case of real subversives, though for ordinary folks going about their day it will do whatever the authorities want it to do.
  • ... can't be far behind. Eg. maybe they'll discover you can put clear tape on your car with a fake scratch printed on it, to be changed every day. Looks like technology will again help make life more complicated by a notch.

  • which can identify cars from "customized paintings, decorations or even scratches"

    So time to paint the car with eInk that can change randomly. Fake scratches and dents that move around and change shape.

  • China's investment in surveillance tech means that you can buy some really amazing weatherproof high-resolution varifocal cameras from Chinese manufacturers (e.g. Dahua) for a fraction of what such cameras cost ten years ago.

    It's revolutionizing home and business surveillance in the U.S.A.

  • Attach a band aid to the exterior of the car and the identification system will fail. Any alteration in the cars appearance will drive current computers bonkers. As it stands right now the cops can read the plates of every car they pass and get a hit on which cars are stolen. But as it stands lots of car thieves are being taken away due to the current technology. It will become a much more robust system with more and more recording stations set up to catch people.
    • > ttach a band aid to the exterior of the car and the identification system will fail.

      If it were that precise, even ordinary road dirt and shadows would obscure it beyond usefulness. I'd expect such a system to use broad categories to reduce the size of the search space: number of doors, rough color, rough shape of the rear end, and details of the bumpers would help narrow the search space tremendously and allow more meaningful comparison of the details of the car.

  • ...to help self-driving cars correctly identify defaced street signs [slashdot.org].

  • Yeah, being able to identify stolen cars even after they have had a paint job is repression, of course it is. Everybody knows it is basic human right, stealing other people's cars and selling them on.

  • [quote][...]could also be used to recognize the faces of human beings. Essentially, it works by learning from what it sees, allowing it to differentiate between cars (or humans) by spotting small differences between them.[/quote]

    Is that the Chinese government's way of saying that all those Chinks look the same to them?

  • This is just an idea published by some Chinese researchers, actually a fairly pedestrian idea based on recent approaches to machine learning in computer vision. The researchers were clever in choosing a controversial name for their approach ("a repression network"), but there is no indication that this approach is actually used anywhere, in China or elsewhere, whether it would scales to millions of cars.

    BTW this is the same thing with face recognition. On curated databases of tens of thousands of faces take

  • Now I can sell millions of magnetic scratch and imperfections decalcs in China.

  • What will China come up with next? A Mobile Oppression Palace [wikia.com]?

    Perhaps Matt Groening shouldn't give them any more ideas.

  • We just saw that self-driving cars can be fooled by putting a strip of duct tape on a stop sign. I'm not sure how realistically accurate this is going to end up being.
  • Now we'll start seeing that deployed in the US.

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