To Confuse Facial Recognition Tech, Hong Kong Protesters Are Using Lasers

Harin - Aug 15, 2019, 8:30 am IST


To avoid being identified, many of the Hong Kong protesters have also been shining high-powered lasers directly at surveillance cameras.

Since the beginning of June, around 1 million people have flooded Hong Kong streets against a controversial extradition bill. To avoid being identified, many of the protesters have covered their faces. But as Washington Post reported, some of them have also been using high-powered lasers to point at surveillance cameras, to distract and confuse facial recognition systems.

These lasers turn the streets into surreal, science-fiction theaters with colored and flashing lights. This is one of a few methods for identity masking.

But protesters are not the only ones to use high-powered lights as riot police, besides tear gas, water cannons, pepper spray, and rubber bullets, are also using beams and lights to easily identify protesters after the streets have turned foggy because of the tear gas.

The cause of the protests is a controversial extradition bill that is currently being pushed in the legislature of Hong Kong. This bill would allow the extradition of criminal suspects to Mainland China (as well as Macau and Taiwan) for trial. And if this happened, the line that separates the two legal systems would be blurred.

There are two problems with this.

First of all, Hong Kong citizens believe that with this bill, Hong Kong’s autonomy is being violated, even more than the past incidents.

Secondly, Hong Kongers do not consider themselves as Chinese. They fear that they would stay under the control of China’s defective judicial system, where it is normal for people awaiting trial being illegally imprisoned and tortured. For those who work as activists, human rights lawyers, social workers, and journalists, the fear is intensified.

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