One of the most popular cities at Lake Balaton will very soon have surveillance cameras equipped with a face recognition system.

In the 21st century, technology is all around us, helping the everyday life of people to be better and easier. Surveillance cameras on the streets of cities are not a novelty, and even face recognition systems are getting more and more widespread since they can be a very useful tool in the case when a crime happens in public, for instance.

The most popular promenade (Petőfi Promenade) of the Balaton’s party capital, Siófok,

will not only have surveillance cameras all along it, but they will be equipped with a face recognition system. quoted the Facebook announcement of Siófok’s mayor. He says that upon installing 39 new surveillance cameras equipped with artificial intelligence, they have created a system that is unique in the country. The company winning the tender, Dahua Technology, provided special support to carry out this prototypal project that will serve as an example for the future.

In practice, this means that if the staff operating the system notices a pickpocket or even a street fight, the face of the perpetrator will be recorded so that the system can look for, scan, and recognise the same face anywhere in the crowd. Thus, both the security services and the police will be provided with enormous help in catching the perpetrator.

There is, however, one tiny, alarming detail. Dahua Technology is partially owned by China,

the country that is also set to build a huge campus for its Fudan University in Budapest.

Moreover, this is the company that took part in the Chinese state’s campaign against Uyghurs, as

their video surveillance products are also used in the aggressive assimilation process carried out against Muslim minorities in the autonomous region of Xinjiang in northwest China.

Budapest demonstrates against Fudan with street names criticising China

For its participation in the mentioned campaign, in 2019, the company made it to the USA’s blacklist, among several Chinese companies and supercomputer groups.

Moreover, the company has had two rather serious data protection scandals. In 2016 and then in 2017, hackers acquired access to their camera surveillance systems.

According to reports on the incidents, anyone could have taken control of the operational systems.

Furthermore, in March 2021, the Federal Communications Commission of the United States ranked the services and products of Dahua as “unacceptable threats to national security”. Three months later, the Security Industry Association that represents the interests of American providers working with electronic and physical security systems also expelled the company from their group of members for violating their Code of Ethics.

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