TLDR: Facial recognition technology could be used in Hong Kong to fight crime and maintain national security, according to Commissioner of Police Raymond Siu. The government plans to install 615 CCTV cameras across the city next month, the first phase of a plan to set up 2,000 cameras by the end of the year. Siu stated that guidelines will be drawn up for the use of personal information gathered by the cameras, and that citizens do not need to worry as the technology will be used lawfully.
Commissioner Siu mentioned that while they are still in the early stages of identifying the circumstances where facial recognition technology would be used, they did not rule out the possibility of using it to track suspects or in cases involving national security. They also emphasized that the installation of only 2,000 CCTV cameras is not enough for a densely populated city like Hong Kong and looked at the UK and Singapore as examples of countries with higher numbers of surveillance cameras.
Warner Cheuk Wing-hing, the deputy chief secretary, previously announced the government’s plan to install 2,000 CCTV cameras in densely populated parts of the city and high-crime areas. This announcement came before Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu launched a 30-day consultation exercise on proposed home-grown national security legislation.
The domestic legislation will work alongside the 2020 Beijing-imposed national security law, which penalizes acts of secession, subversion, terrorism, and collaboration with foreign forces. The government plans to set up an independent surveillance system using the new cameras, and they will consult with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data to ensure information protection.