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Sheila Scarborough / Flickr Creative Commons

The Chinese government is using facial-recognition technology to help promote good behavior and catch lawbreakers — even jaywalkers, according to the Wall Street Journal. Facial recognition is used to enter buildings, withdraw cash from ATMs and prevent cheating during competitions.

Big picture, big brother: China is installing iris scanners at check points throughout the country. The government already monitors social media, and there are plans to institute a national "social credit" system by 2020, which would give citizens ratings based on how they act at work, in public settings and financially. There are 176 million surveillance cameras in China, compared to 50 million in the U.S..

The tech: Chinese tech firms are competing to create surveillance systems to sell to the government. As artificial intelligence technologies advance, so does facial-recognition.

In the U.S., the FBI uses facial recognition to help catch suspects and the DHS is starting to use it in airports to keep track of foreign visitors. Other U.S. companies are using facial recognition in pilot programs.

Go deeper

USAID chief tests positive for coronavirus

An Air Force cargo jet delivers USAID supplies to Russia earlier this year. Photo: Mikhail Metzel/TASS via Getty Images

The acting administrator of the United States Agency for International Development informed senior staff Wednesday he has tested positive for coronavirus, two sources familiar with the call tell Axios.

Why it matters: John Barsa, who staffers say rarely wears a mask in their office, is the latest in a series of senior administration officials to contract the virus. His positive diagnosis comes amid broader turmoil at the agency following the election.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
5 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 shows a bright future for vaccines

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Promising results from COVID-19 vaccine trials offer hope not just that the pandemic could be ended sooner than expected, but that medicine itself may have a powerful new weapon.

Why it matters: Vaccines are, in the words of one expert, "the single most life-saving innovation ever," but progress had slowed in recent years. New gene-based technology that sped the arrival of the COVID vaccine will boost the overall field, and could even extend to mass killers like cancer.

7 hours ago - Health

Beware a Thanksgiving mirage

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Don't be surprised if COVID metrics plunge over the next few days, only to spike next week.

Why it matters: The COVID Tracking Project warns of a "double-weekend pattern" on Thanksgiving — where the usual weekend backlog of data is tacked on to a holiday.