Chinese researchers develop wearable device that triggers ‘porn alarm’

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china wearable porn detector

Chinese researchers have developed a head-bound device that detects when the wearer is watching pornography, then triggers an alarm, in a move the researchers say could help government censors detect online porn more quickly in the future.

Porn is illegal in China, with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) employing a vast army of censors to detect and purge it from Chinese internet sites. Foreign porn sites are usually blocked in the country.

Researchers at Beijing Jiaotong University created a wearable prototype device that they said could “pick up a spike in the brainwaves triggered by explicit content”. They tested it on 15 male university students who wore it while watching a computer screen. The device reportedly correctly identified when porn was shown on the screen 80 percent of the time, triggering the ‘porn alarm’.

chinese mind reading device

Xu Jianjun, director of Beijing Jiaotong University’s electrical engineering experiment centre, described the device as being for “bad information detection”. Xu’s team’s findings were published in the Journal of Electronic Measurement and Instrumentation.

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“There is no law to regulate the use of such devices or protect the data they collected”

An unnamed individual from the University of Science and Technology of China

The researchers suggested that a version of the device could be used in the future by government censors, to help improve their speed and accuracy when searching for porn online (for work rather than pleasure purposes, obviously).

However, with the CCP’s already far-reaching ‘digital dictatorship’ style of governance used to detain and oppress people deemed to be engaging in undesirable behaviour, concerns have been raised about how else the technology could be used.

According to the South China Morning Post, an individual from the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei, in China’s eastern Anhui Province, noted: “There is no law to regulate the use of such devices or protect the data they collected.”

In 2018 it was reported that Chinese workers were being hooked up to brain-reading devices on an “unprecedented” scale, raising concerns about data about people’s most basic emotions potentially being accessed and misused.

Those reports stated that the brain-reading devices were being used in the electronic equipment, electric power supply and telecommunications industries, plus in the Chinese military.

Read next: China has paid out $147K to citizens that reported online porn

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Jamie F

Jamie F

Jamie is a freelance writer, contributing to outlets such as The Guardian, The Times, The Telegraph, CNN and Vice.

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