Hong Kong Police Has Facial Recognition & Citizens Are Worried About What Comes Next

Computer vision technology in Hong Kong

Computer vision is among the most embraced technologies around the world because of its use cases in the real world. More notably, facial recognition through computer vision is proliferating in various mobile manufacturing firms as well as governments. The integration of this technology is endless, thereby making it the most useful technology today. However, many people are critical of facial recognition due to privacy concerns. Many tech experts are sceptical about the security risk and see it as a threat to society.

The question of the use of facial recognition has again gained steam with the allegations of Hong Kong police using it to profile protesters. According to a newspaper, Hong Kong cops have been using this technology across China since at least for the last three years in collaboration with the iOmniscient, a Sydney-based video analytics firm. Though this was used to find individuals and immigration control, as per the law, the police are required to inform the protestors if they are using it to surveil them.

Although the police have denied the use of technology for restraining protesters, it is believed that they have the use of facial recognition technology. This has raised concern among people and tech experts who have been voicing about such misuse of facial recognition technology.

How things boiled out

The Hong Kong protest, which has been boiling ever since April this year, saw protesters wearing masks to shield themselves from tear gas thrown by the police. However, these maks were also allowing them to protect their identities and showcase dissent in destructive means like breaking public property.

Therefore, the government banned masks, which further triggered the violence, as such a law can help cops to identify the protesters. People are alarmed as now police can surveil them through the CCTV cameras and use the facial recognition technology with their database to pinpoint the protestors.

What does it mean to the world

The implementation of facial technology has come under scanner again and has reignited the need for enforcing regulation against its unlawful use. Many governments around the world have banned the use of facial recognition, while others are embracing it widely to improve security.

Earlier this year, San Fransisco became the first US city to ban facial recognition, citing unnecessary infringement on people’s privacy. Further, it was also stressed that the technology is unreliable and can be a threat to democracy. On the other hand, China has been widely deploying facial recognition for many years. 

The implications of such technology have been both negative and positive, thus making it difficult to establish a linear perspective. However, as things are turning out in Hong Kong, it is paramount to ponder again and ensure that computer vision technology is utilised for only assisting people in every respect.


While facial recognition technology has been helping make this world a safer place by improving real-time security and privacy, it is also a threat to society if deployed to surveil. Computer vision technology is assisting in diagnosing diseases, aid forensic investigation, preventing crimes, transacting in retail stores without standing in queues at the counters. At the same time, with news of government surveilling, people are at the odds about the integration of facial recognition technology.

Like every other technology, computer vision also has some disadvantages. But regulating it in such a way that technology can only be used for enhancing security and productivity and efficiency of every organisation, government, and people. The technology is poised to rise and penetrate other sectors for boosting and adding value by strengthening its security.

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