High Peaks Pure Earth has translated an article from WeChat posted on December 29, 2017, about new facial recognition ATMs in Tibet.
The article comes from an official state media WeChat channel so perhaps not surprisingly presents facial recognition ATMs as an exciting new technological advancement. State media produced similar news articles in English but without the photos accompanying this post. According to state media, 20 ATMs with facial recognition technology had been installed in Tibet by the end of 2017, 14 of which are in Lhasa and surrounding areas. The ATMs can also be used in Tibetan language.
Other examples of how China is using facial recognition technology according to state media: “Beijing’s Temple of Heaven has used it in toilets to deter toilet paper theft. In Jinan City, traffic police have installed facial scanners at intersections to catch and shame jaywalkers. Supermarkets in some big cities have been using the technology at bag deposit areas.”
The rise in using facial recognition technology in China has been noticed by foreign correspondents and human rights organisations and there have recently been many articles and reports about implications for surveillance and government control, a facet not covered by the post below. The Washington Post introduced the Chinese government’s “Sharp Eyes” project last month and the BBC’s China correspondent was tracked down in 7 minutes by the “the world’s biggest camera surveillance network”. The Guardian looked specifically at a facial-recognition surveillance system currently being tested in Xinjiang that will that alert authorities when targets stray more than 300 metres from their home or workplace.
Tibet Enters into the Era of Facial Recognition ATMs
Facial recognition used to be a hot term on the internet, mainly used to mock those who look good and enjoy privileges. Ever since the iPhone X entered the market, facial recognition has become a new and exciting tool in the electronics industry.
Today, Lhasa also entered into the facial recognition era; what on earth happened? Let’s not waste time, let’s follow our journalist to take a look!
On December 29, the Tibetan branch of Agricultural Bank of China (ABC) held their news conference at their business office in Nechung Township of Toelung Dechen County to introduce their new “facial recognition ATM.”
What “Facial Recognition” Means
At the 24 hour ABC ATM in Nechung Township, the 56-year-old Migmar Dhondup was the first to try out the new “facial recognition withdrawal” option.
He stood in front of the ATM, showed his face, entered his phone or ID number and the PIN of his bank card, before choosing a service; the withdrawal was completed in an instant, the entire process did not exceed 30 seconds. Definitely 5 stars!
Migmar Dhondup: It is so convenient, we don’t need our bankbooks or ID card to withdraw money anymore. This is really great for us!