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In early 2018, one of Malaysia’s key security forces made a startling announcement. The Auxiliary Force, a branch of the Royal Malaysia Police Cooperative, had entered into a partnership with the Chinese company Yitu Technology to equip the Force’s officers with facial-recognition capabilities. Security officials will be able to rapidly compare images caught by live body cameras with images from a central database. The head of the Auxiliary Force explained that this use of artificial intelligence (AI) was a “significant step forward” in efforts to improve public security. He also noted that his agency planned eventually to enhance the body-camera system so as to enable “real-time facial recognition and instant alerts to the presence of persons of interest from criminal watch lists.”

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Copyright © 2019, John Hopkins University Press. This article first appeared in Journal of Democracy, 30:1 (2019), 40-52. Reprinted with permission by Johns Hopkins University Press.