Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport now employs a facial recognition technology that allows passengers to prove their identity by having their face scanned. Similar digital transformation efforts are on the way, and other airports such as the one in Beijing and Nanyang city are soon to follow by implementing the said technology.
As of right now, however, only Chinese identity cardholders can use it.
Spring Airlines has shared the usage statistics, showing that out of 5,000+ passengers who have travelled by plane since the new facial recognition technology was implemented, 87% of them used the automated self-service kiosks. These kiosks can effectively reduce the check-in times to less than a minute and a half.
In general, facial recognition technology is becoming increasingly more prominent in China. Mainland police have successfully used it to identify individuals in a crowd, and soon, surveillance cameras will become capable of employing it as well.
Even a KFC outlet in Hangzhou (near Shanghai) now allows their customers to pay by using the facial recognition technology. Moreover, hundreds of ATM machines in Macau are now equipped with it to put a stop to money laundering activities.
Maya Wang, a Chinese Human Rights Watch researcher, warns that such technology can also be used by the authorities for social control purposes, which is an important concern to be raised. While there are many great and practical things it can help us achieve, where do we draw the line as far as our personal privacy is concerned?