More than 100 million Chinese are using facial recognition technology to pay for purchases

It has only been implemented for a short time, but more than 100 million Chinese have signed up to use facial recognition technology to pay for phones.
Facial recognition technology is reshaping the way Chinese consumers pay their bills, as well as mobile payments made a few years ago. At stores, more and more shoppers pay by using their faces, while commuters who pay for their monthly tickets "pay with their faces" at subway stations.

In a country where mobile payments have been rampant in recent years, more than 1,000 stores have started to install a facial payment system and more than 100 million Chinese have registered. use this technology. While the use of facial recognition technology is bringing greater convenience to Chinese consumers, many are warning that Beijing is increasingly expanding citizen tracking to alarming levels. , for those who care about privacy.

To receive these utilities, users first need to register their original photos with the smartphone application of the face payment service provider. A new rule requires consumers to register photos of their faces from December with a mobile service provider.

In May, the Seven Eleven chain of stores introduced facial payment technology in its stores, mainly in southern China, including Guangdong province. About 1,000 Seven Eleven stores have started using the system, allowing customers to pay just by scanning their faces at the payment machine.
According to a report from the chain operator, about 10% of customers at Seven Eleven stores in the business districts of Guangzhou bought goods using the face payment system. Even small restaurants use technology, as well as an increasing number of vending machines.

Under government push, facial recognition software is being accepted even by subway stations for passengers to use their faces as boarding passes. The new system installed at subway stations in Guangzhou province in September brought a "seamless journey through the ticket gate even during peak hours," a 23-year-old woman working in the city said. said.

Passengers can go through the ticket gate just by looking at the tablet with embedded ticket scanning system. If they have registered their faces with the smartphone app, they don't even need to bring a mobile phone to pay for their tickets. The system for purchasing facial recognition tickets has also been introduced in other major cities including Beijing and Shanghai. This system is expected to be widely applied next year.

The value of mobile payments in China is reaching nearly 200 trillion Yuan (28 trillion USD) per year. But some analysts predict that the face will be chosen by Chinese users to replace mobile phones in payment operations in the next two years.
Major mobile payment platforms in China such as Alibaba's Alipay and Tencent's WeChat Pay both support facial payment systems. This payment method is faster, easier to use and smoother than mobile payment or fingerprint authentication.

Not only that, this trend is also fueling a series of Chinese AI startups on face recognition technology, including Megvii Technology, which was founded in 2011. There are also other startups including SenseTime and Yitu. These are unicorn startups valued at more than $ 1 billion.

Criticism from Chinese media
But at the same time as face recognition technology is getting better, it also raises concerns about state surveillance, privacy breaches, and increased abuse. In September, Megvii pledged to accept social scrutiny for its efforts to protect user privacy, after it received criticism for its use of facial recognition technology. yourself as a solution to monitor student behavior in the classroom. The system uses multiple cameras mounted in the classroom to closely monitor student behavior, for example to see if they are focused on school.

Chinese media criticized the system for believing it would put too much pressure on students.
In addition, according to a 2017 intelligence law, the Chinese government reserves the right to hold any private data owned by companies. The law requires companies in China to provide the information they have to the government when national security is at stake.
While growing rapidly in China, facial recognition technology has received a lot of suspicious eyes in the rest of the world. The US and Europe have imposed strict restrictions on the use of face recognition technology due to concerns about privacy and human rights violations.
Since 2018, the European Union's GDPR law has banned the collection of biometric data, including facial recognition data that can be used for identifying individuals.

In the United States, four cities, including San Francisco, have decided to restrict police and other public organizations from using facial recognition systems.

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