Facial Recognition Payment Poses As A Threat To Users' Privacy

Harin - Jul 17, 2019


Facial Recognition Payment Poses As A Threat To Users' Privacy

It’s common in China to see people scan their faces for payments in both smartphone apps and in stores. Unfortunately, a bank official warned that this method is unsafe. According to Li Wei, the People’s Bank of China’s Director of the technology department, consumers should understand that they are giving away their privacy when they opt for convenience.

Faces are extremely sensitive personal information. Once it is leaked or stolen, it could have a serious impact on someone. While people can keep their bank cards inside their wallets, they can’t hide their faces all the time.

Li added that some companies haven’t taken into account these problems. It’s dangerous to let users scan their faces for payments while showing their phone numbers on a big screen for double verification.

Alipay-Facial-Recognition-Payment
It’s common in China to see people scan their faces for payments in both smartphone apps and in stores.

Chinese firms have been incorporating facing recognition technology into their payment apps while dealing with just a few regulatory barriers as well as criticism from the citizens.

Both WeChat Pay and AliPay, which control over 90% of the $41.51 trillion markets, have deployed their facial recognition systems. The China Internet Network Information Center reported that the number of mobile payment users in China in 2018 was 583 mil.

State media has already raised their voice about the risk of facial recognition payment and demanded regulations following the happening of incidents exposing the security risk of such systems.

Back in February, it is revealed through a data leak that SenseNets, Shenzhen-based surveillance software maker store millions of people’s location data in an insecure database which included national ID numbers along with birthdates.

Unfortunate incidents can also happen if users are careless. In April this year, a WeChat user from Zhejiang lost over 10,000 yuan (₹99782) after his roommates pointed his smartphone at his face to unlock it while he was asleep. It is reported that the roommates already knew the victim’s WeChat Pay password. It was unclear which smartphone was used; however, facial recognition systems using a front-facing camera are less secure than those with additional tech such as the Apple’s Face ID infrared sensors.

Smartphone makers have been trying to boost their products’ security. But it is worth noting that even Android’s advanced facial recognition systems have been bypassed using 3D-printed heads.

 

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