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Strengthening security of face-scanning payments becomes top priority

By Zhao Tong (People's Daily Online)    08:19, October 25, 2019

(Photo/He Xinghui)

Guangzhou's first smart subway station recently opened, allowing passengers to scan their faces to get through the turnstiles, according to Science and Technology. The face-scanning machine only takes 300 milliseconds to recognize any passing face, allowing 40 people to pass per minute.

Face payment has made life easier since it became a part of daily life in China. Xin Yang, professor of Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, said that from KFC's KPRO restaurant to drugstores and supermarkets, more than one million consumers across the country had already experienced the convenience of face-scanning payment.

Guiyang, an inland city, opened up the experience of face-scanning technology on its subway system during this year's expo. The common response from users was that it was quick and convenient.

Xin believes that compared with QR code-scanning payment, face-scanning will bring convenience in many situations, for example, when members of the public are in a rush or carrying something heavy.

What's more, face-scanning payment can generate more revenue and reduce labor expenditure. A face-scanning machine can do the same amount of work as three cashiers. If 10 customers check out at the same time, the traditional model takes 56 seconds, while using the face-scanning machine will only take 10 seconds.

Strengthening security becomes the top priority

Recently, a "face changing" app became popular, sparking an online frenzy. By using the app, people could upload high-resolution selfies, then add them onto pictures of famous movie or TV stars. However, users were required to blink their eyes, look up, and verify many times, which is similar to the information collected when customers pay using their face. Therefore, members of the public have asked what will happen if their facial information finds itself in the wrong hands.

Compared with fingerprint or iris recognition, the human face is a biometric feature with weak privacy. Therefore, the privacy threat caused by face-scanning payment should be of the utmost importance.

Xin said that it is the absence of a mobile phone as a medium that makes it easier to use facial information. In the bio-payment era, how to launch an offensive and defensive battle against the new technology will be the focus of the industry's future development.

The fact is that face-scanning payment is still not hugely popular in China because the equipment, customer acceptance and payment security are not yet perfect. At present, customers still prefer to use a mobile phone to pay. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Zhao Tong, Bianji)

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