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China's CCTV surveillance network took just 7 minutes to capture BBC reporter Jon Russell,TechCrunch It took Chinese authorities just seven minutes to locate and apprehend BBC reporter John Sudworth using its powerful network of CCTV camera and facial recognition technology. This wasn't a case of a member of the media being forcibly removed from the country. The chase was a stunt set up to illustrate just how powerful and effective the Chinese government's surveillance system can be. It's a stark example of the type of monitoring that China has invested heavily in over recent years with the aim of helping police do their job more efficiently. Such systems are also used in private organizations, for example to monitor workers and processes in factories, but government critics have warned of the potential for abuse in the hands of the state. China has the largest monitoring system in the world. There are some 170 million CCTV cameras across the country, and that's tipped to grow more than three-fold with 400 million more set to be installed by 2020. Beyond the sheer numbers of lookout points, China is harvesting information with a new-found focus on intelligence. The government also works with facial recognition and AI companies, such as unicorn Face++, which can pour through data to extract meaningful information such as faces, ages, registration plates and more. The full video of Sudworth's 'capture' is on the BBC website, with a snippet is below -- hat-tip The Next Web. pic.twitter.com/vLGQYN7ZB9 In China's surveillance state, a reporter's game of hide and seek had a sinister edge http://www.newsweek.com/tasked-trying-remain-undetected-long-possible-sudworth-filmed-himself-selfie-747843 BY CHRISTINA ZHAO ON 12/14/17 AT 6:54 AM China currently boasts the largest monitoring system in the world, with approximately 176 million CCTV cameras in public and private hands. According to The Wall Street Journal, China will add another 450 million cameras by 2020. The U.S., by comparison, has around 50 million. CCTV is also used in China by private organizations to monitor workers and mine human data, a practice that has attracted criticism from activists as an abuse of human rights. China has no enforceable protections for privacy rights against state surveillance, reported Human Rights Watch (HRW). “Until China has meaningful privacy rights and an accountable police force, the government should immediately cease these efforts,” said Sophie Richardson, China director at HRW. Officials told Sudworth that only criminals need to fear the technology, but recent reports suggest that the software has been used to monitor and intimidate ethnic minorities like the Uighurs in western China. Beyond the cameras, China has also been gathering information by using new facial recognition intelligence and working with artificial intelligence companies, which can quickly shift through data to extract information on people’s faces, ages, registration plates and more. Facial recognition cameras and software are also being used in China for routine activities, such as gaining entrance to a workplace, withdrawing cash from an ATM and unlocking a smartphone, reported WSJ. A KFC restaurant in China’s capital is now scanning customers’ faces and then making menu suggestions based on gender and age. And a popular park in Beijing has deployed smart intelligence to fight toilet paper theft in public restrooms by using face-scanning dispensers that limit each person to a limited amount of paper every nine minutes, the newspaper claimed.