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China’s airport facial recognition kiosks should make us fear for our privacy

China’s airport facial recognition kiosks should make us fear for our privacy
[Photo: Sebastian Grochowicz/Unsplash]

Matthew Brennan, an expert on Chinese technology, recently posted a short video clip of the new facial recognition kiosks airlines have installed in some airports in China. As you can see from the clip below, Brennan simply needed to walk near the kiosk for it to scan his face and have it accurately identify him and his flight plans, complete with giving him a map and directions to his gate.

From first glance, the kiosk does seem really cool—it’s basically Face ID on steroids. But it should also serve as a warning as to what governments and companies can do with our data if left unchecked. After all, if an airport kiosk can identify Brennan in seconds and show him his travel plans, the Chinese government can clearly use facial recognition tech to identify citizens wherever they go. Matter of fact, they are already doing this via their social credit system.

The question is, as many commenters pointed out after Brennan’s tweet, do we want this kind of technology available in Western democracies? If so, how could it be kept in check and not abused by governments and other institutions? That’s something we don’t have an answer for yet–an answer we desperately need.

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