Facial Recognition Technology Causes Fear to 79% of Chinese Citizens

facial recognition

In a survey of 6,100 Chinese citizens reported this month, 79% of the citizens had responded that they were worried about their facial recognition information being leaked. 39% of them said they prefer conducting their lives “traditionally” over using facial recognition technology.

Why is this a relevant question in China? Facial recognition technology is used everywhere on multiple, everyday levels. It is used in some universities for student check-ins, in shopping malls to track routes taken by consumers, and even in advanced public restrooms to ensure not too many tissues are being used. That’s a lot of micromanaging just to be a functioning person there, and without explicit, willing consent!

41% had said they were willing to use the technology. From this, we gather that the facial recognition technology allows processes to be more convenient and efficient. However, an equal amount of respondents, 39%, said they were reluctant to use it. Understanding the significant presence of both opinions, it is not surprising that 74% of the respondents reported that they should have the choice to decide whether to use facial recognition for identity checks in various establishments, instead of being required to give their facial identifying information.

More than 83% of the respondents wished that there would ways for them to check data collected on them and delete their facial data, and 40% have expressed that they have no idea how their facial data is being stored and how they’re used.

Unlike in the U.S., many facial recognition devices do not prompt consumers to give their consent in taking their facial recognition information, as there is no privacy policy and user agreement measures in place. Despite how pervasive this technology is in China, it is clear that there is a lack of transparency. It is no wonder an overwhelming majority of citizens are worried!

This past October, a local zoo in the Zhejiang province was sued by a university professor for requiring all visitors to check-in through facial recognition. This case has drawn a huge public debate and it is the first legal proceeding in China on facial recognition deployment. The case is pending a result.

Indeed, the legal landscape has much to develop on the rules governing the public’s privacy, and it lags far behind how rapidly smart technology is being deployed worldwide.

In the meantime, if you have the option and means to secure your data and how it’s being used, why not do so or find out how you may go about in doing so?