fredag 25. juni 2021

A Professor, a Zoo, and the Future of Facial Recognition in China

Guo Bing never intended to become a public figure. But over the past 18 months, the academic has been thrust into the center of a debate over one of China’s most contentious social issues: the country’s gung-ho embrace of facial recognition technology.

It all started with a text message from his local zoo. In early 2019, Guo had bought an annual pass for a safari park in the eastern city of Hangzhou, so he could take his kid to see the animals on weekends. Six months later, the venue notified him about a new security policy. In the future, all passholders would have to enter the park using a newly installed face-scanning system, the message stated. Anyone refusing to comply would be denied entry. Guo, a legal professor at Hangzhou’s Zhejiang Sci-Tech University, was outraged. He couldn’t understand how a zoo could justify requiring customers to hand over their biometric information. When he visited the park, he also found it was doing little to protect the data.