Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith speaks during the annual Microsoft shareholders meeting in Bellevue, Washington on November 29, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Jason Redmond

In early July, a New York Times story about how Chinese officials are using facial recognition technology to track down lawbreakers went viral.

The story opened with a short anecdote about a police officer in Zhengzhou who used his special glasses to catch a heroin smuggler. His glasses were powered by artificial intelligence that allowed him to match the faces around him — each of which had been recorded by numerous security cameras around the city — with the face of the perpetrator. People around the world tweeted about the dystopian nature of this use of technology, making the usual jokes about the movie Minority Report. In the U.S., many worried about whether we might be next. As with most viral news stories, this was knocked off the top of the trending list by the next story.

Keep reading...