September 18, 2021

In rural China, facial recognition is a must to receive your pension.

In a video shared on Chinese social media Dwayne, bank staff in a Chinese village are seen scanning the faces of elderly people, after which they can access their pensions and health insurance. The use of facial recognition to access bank services is becoming more and more common in China, and although Chinese citizens generally do not see it as a bad thing, many experts are sounding the alarm that the data What can this exercise mean for the protection of

An old woman in a white shirt sits in front of a man using a tablet to scan his face. The tablet gives instructions in Mandarin, which the man then repeats in the local dialect used in the Midwest of China. Another man uses a hand-held machine that looks like an ID card. The video, released on June 25, 2021, is one of those that has frightened social media users and raised concerns that facial recognition could also be used for surveillance.

The two videos, published on June 25, 2021, are circulating in social media groups dedicated to protecting Uighur communities.

These videos include a number of hints to explain what is happening. In the preview of the video, the person has an ID card reader with the company Centrum logo on it. On Centrum’s website, we can find. Same device And what it is used for: providing banking services. There is another logo on the screen of the device, in red and green: the logo of the Rural Credit Union of China (), a Chinese bank with many branches in rural China.

On the left, screen capture of one of the videos showing one of these devices.  On the right, the logo of the Rural Credit Union of China Bank.
On the left, screen capture of one of the videos showing one of these devices. On the right, the logo of the Rural Credit Union of China Bank. Observers

So why is the bank staff meeting elderly customers at home and scanning their faces? We collaborated with an amateur fact checker and investigative journalist. پنگر-بان۔, Who specializes in topics related to China, to learn more. We took it A video One or more of the videos above was filmed a few minutes later. It was published on June 22, 2021 on the social media network Dwayne, which is the Chinese equivalent of Tik Tok. The headline reads, “Living Xing Branch offers door-to-door service to help low-income seniors get their cards.”

The same user, who appears to be a bank employee who provides this service from door to door, was published. Another, similar video., In which he says that employees are giving social security cards to clients. With this card, citizens can access their pension, health insurance and unemployment benefits.

The video was published on June 22, 2021 on the Chinese social media network Dwayne.

‘The danger is that the data can be collected and used irresponsibly.’

A team of 24 French observers spoke to a development economist who, on condition of anonymity, worked on a rollout of art tech in rural China. He confirmed what was happening in the video: One of the men checked her ID card (gray) and activated the woman’s social security card (blue). The other man uses the tablet for a woman’s movie, who has to turn his head according to certain instructions, to prove that he is a real person.

The economist we spoke to explained that the use of facial recognition technology helps people in rural China overcome some of the difficulties needed to access social security benefits.

Social Security Card contains information. [about the recipient] And it also plays a financial role, as it gives them access to money. To access the service, you must activate your card at a specific bank branch. This can be difficult for the elderly or those who do not have access to banking services.

It is difficult for the elderly in rural areas to handle this process. [of activating the card using facial recognition]. But they don’t have to worry about this new technology. The most important thing for them is not to be deprived of the social security benefits they are entitled to. In any case, everyone who uses banking services in China has to use facial recognition technology.

According to the government, the idea is that this social security system works for everyone. If it is linked to an ID card and bank details, digital management will be more reliable and easier to verify.

There is evidence that many Chinese citizens support facial recognition technology: 67%, Chinese respondents accepted the use of facial recognition technology “strictly” or “to some extent”, only 38% compared to Germans, According to a paper Published in the scientific journal Public Understanding of Science on March 26, 2021.

But this exercise does not sit well with everyone in China. In 2019, Guo Bing, a law professor in Hangzhou, Wildlife Park taken to court. To make more use of facial recognition technology Won.

For Maya Wang, a Chinese expert at Human Rights Watch, the main threat associated with facial recognition technology is the protection of the data of non-state actors such as banks.

It is not clear whether the participants. [in the videos] Understand what information is being collected or how it can be used. The danger with private entities is that data can be collected and used without much responsibility for its protection, and there is no way to prevent data sharing for further use. Is for which it was collected in the first place.

Surveillance does not necessarily pose a threat, as the police already have photographs of citizens and a lot of data anyway. However, like many countries around the world, if a private company collects my personal data to provide a service, I have a right to know that this information will only be used to provide that service.

‘There is no limit to what the state can do with personal data’

China’s People’s Supreme Court used Guo Bing’s case. Issue an instruction On July 28, 2021, the use of facial recognition technology by private companies.

Chinese National People’s Congress in August. Passed a similar law Designed to protect online personal data privacy, effective November 1.

Samantha Hoffman, an analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, did the research. China’s tech giants collect data.The problem, he says, is that the new law does not apply to the use of state personal data.

The law on the protection of personal data may be effective to some extent, but the most important point is that it does not limit the power of the state.

The law reinforces the idea that the Chinese Communist Party presides over the creation of the Chinese data protection system and decides on technical standards related to data security. It holds the concept of data protection in the context of state security: the basic idea is to protect and expand the power of the party, even if it is to protect the privacy of individuals.

Face recognition technology has become a daily thing in China: in shopping malls, consumers can. Just pay by scanning their face.. Adam Ni, a Chinese researcher at Sydney’s Macquarie University, told the Guardian: “The state can use this data for its own purposes, such as surveillance, surveillance, political dissent, social and information control. [and] Ethnic profiling “

In the United States, use. Facial recognition technology Access to unemployment benefits has been widely criticized in Colorado, California and the state of New York. There have been some people. Unable to access their benefits. After technical issues

Amnesty International launched a campaign in January 2021 calling for a worldwide ban on facial recognition systems. “Facial recognition systems are a form of mass surveillance that violates the right to privacy,” the organization said. Written in a press release.


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