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You can now check-in using facial recognition technology at Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport (SHA) as part of China’s rollout of biometric systems.
According to the Civil Aviation Administration of China, SHA revealed self-service kiosks powered by facial recognition technology on Monday for flight and baggage check-in, security clearance and boarding. Several airports in China already use facial recognition, but Shanghai’s new system is the first fully automated one.
The airport’s first airline to adopt the system is Spring Airlines, a Shanghai-based low-cost carrier. For now, only Chinese identity card holders can use the technology. The airline said Tuesday that 87% of the 5,017 passengers who took Spring flights on Monday used the new technology at the self-service kiosks. SHA’s facial recognition can reduce check-in times to less than 90 seconds, the AP reported.
Biometric technologies have become increasingly more common in China and around the world. Marriott International properties in China integrated facial recognition check-ins in July, JetBlue became the first US airline to test these technologies in May, and Delta launched the first biometric terminal in Atlanta this September.
Not only is facial recognition changing the way people travel, it has infiltrated into daily life in China — like helping restrooms catch a toilet paper kleptomania. Police in China have also been using these systems to develop an integrated national system of surveillance camera data. Additionally, hundreds of ATMs in Macau equipped with facial recognition devices to prevent money laundering. Even a school in China uses facial recognition cameras to monitor students’ reactions in class. This much usage is causing some Chinese residents to become wary.
“Authorities are using biometric and artificial intelligence to record and track people for social control purposes,” Maya Wang, senior China researcher for Human Rights Watch told the AP. “We are concerned about the increasing integration and use of facial recognition technologies throughout the country because it provides more and more data points for the authorities to track people.”
Featured image by FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images.
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