Facial recognition technology has gained quite a bit of a bad rep due to potential privacy concerns. However, over in China, it seems that the technology has a pretty happy story because it managed to reunite a kidnapped victim with his family after having been abducted 32 years ago.
Mao Yin, the victim in question, was kidnapped outside of a hotel in Xi’an in the Shaanxi province in 1988 when he was a mere toddler at 2 years old. He was later sold to a childless couple looking to adopt in the neighboring Sichuan province. Fast forward three decades later, police reportedly received a tip in which they were told that a man in Sichuan had bought a child from Shaanxi in the late 1980s, in which it prompted them to launch an investigation.
This involved them using facial recognition to analyze an old photo of Mao when he was a child to create a simulated image of him as an adult, which they then tried to match with current photos in the national database. They found a match and managed to track Mao down, who upon a DNA test confirmed his identity.
They then managed to reunite Mao with his family who during a live conference broadcast, broke down in tears upon seeing each other. Mao, who runs a home decoration business in Sichuan, he said he will now be moving back to Xi’an to live with his biological parents. The police are still investigating the initial kidnapping, so it is unclear what will happen to Mao’s adoptive parents.