Shenzhen’s jaywalkers get scolded on WeChat and shamed on public screens
Jaywalking in most major cities will usually result in nothing more serious than a stern look from the police.
But cross the road when you’re not supposed to in Shenzhen and you could get a message on your phone from the police -- and see your face plastered on a giant screen.
In an effort to crack down on jaywalking, the city started publicly shaming offenders last year. Using cameras and facial recognition, offenders see their image and names flash up on giant digital screens by the roadside.
Now one company says they’re in talks to link the system with people’s phones. Intellifusion told the South China Morning Post that they’re currently speaking to mobile providers, WeChat and social media like Sina Weibo.
It would allow the police to send warnings and even fines directly to people on their phones, reducing the need to build big screens at every intersection.
But sharing that data with other companies also brings up plenty of privacy questions, in a country which is attempting to build a facial recognition system to identify any of China’s 1.3 billion people within three seconds.
Intellifusion’s Wang Jun even brought up the idea that the system could count the number of times someone has jaywalked -- and repeat offenders could find it more difficult to borrow money from banks, if linked to China’s social credit system intended to punish bad behavior.
They’ll certainly find plenty of offenders. Shenzhen’s traffic police says that in ten months they shamed almost 14,000 jaywalkers at one intersection alone.