Chinese telecom operators are now required, by law to scan the face of any costumer that wants to get a new phone. The “portrait matching,” has been made mandatory in China and has officially started implementation from December 1.
The portrait matching is a form of advanced facial recognition system and customers are recorded while turning their head and blinking, if they wish to register for a new phone number. The mandate was approved as a part of China’s new policy of augmenting cyberspace controls and cracking down against cyber crime. China’s three largest telecom carriers, China Telecom, China Unicom and China Mobile are owned by the government and it is unclear how the existing phones will be registered with portrait matches.
Facial recognition technology has gained substantial momentum in China over the years. Chinese companies like Megvii and SenseTime are two of the world’s best facial recognition companies at the moment. The local Supermarkets, subway systems and airports are already making use o facial recognition technology for a wide array of applications. Alibaba, the biggest Asian e-commerce company, also based in China allows customers to pay with their face in some locations.
Whether it is to monitor people at airports, allow users to unlock their phones without touching it, or searching for most wanted criminals, the use of Facial Recognition technology has become very common. It has brought to light the many useful applications, but on the other hand it has also sparked very real concerns around privacy.
China has expressed its plans to test and give its 1.4 billion citizens a rating based on their behavior by 2020. China will be employing facial recognition, artificial intelligence, and several other technologies to monitor and rate the Chinese populace in the coming months. While, it may certainly look like a twisted plot of a Sci-Fi TV show, it is still very real. Surveillance and facial recognition technologies have already moved into our interconnected world, but do they pose a real threat, or it is just techno phobia?
Even though the use of surveillance and facial recognition technology is ubiquitous and ever growing, these advanced technologies are still new and not always entirely accurate.
According to recent studies conducted by Michael Drury, a partner at BCL Solicitors, facial recognition has a few irregularities, like it is better at identifying, men as compared to women. Similarly another study concluded that, facial recognition was better at identifying people of Caucasian dissent compared to other ethnic groups. This significantly affects chances of false or inaccurate identification of suspects, which would result in many cases of miscarriage of justice.
“Facial recognition technology has two major problems,” says Miju Han, the director of product management at HackerOne “The first is that its accuracy is nowhere near 100%, meaning that employing the technology will result in many false positives. Few algorithms were trained on a truly representative sample, so facial recognition will disproportionately negatively affect different demographics.
As the utilization and adoption of technologies like facial recognition increases around different parts of the world, laws, safeguards and regulations will further require further assessment and adaptations to guarantee that this technology is not misused.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The ACE News.
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