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Shanghai Airport Gets Check-In With Facial Recognition Machines

Increased convenience may come at a cost in a country with few rules on how the government can use biometric data.

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Shanghai,
A U.S. Customs and Border Protection facial recognition device is ready to scan another passenger at a United Airlines gate (Representational image). VOA

It’s now possible to check in automatically at Shanghai Hongqiao airport using facial recognition technology, part of an ambitious rollout of facial recognition systems in China that has raised privacy concerns as Beijing pushes to become a global leader in the field.

Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport unveiled self-service kiosks for flight and baggage check-in, security clearance and boarding powered by facial recognition technology, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China.

Similar efforts are under way at airports in Beijing and Nanyang city, in central China’s Henan province.

Shanghai,
Face recognition tool was first launched in 2012

Many airports in China already use facial recognition to help speed security checks, but Shanghai’s system, which debuted Monday, is being billed as the first to be fully automated.

“It is the first time in China to achieve self-service for the whole check-in process,” said Zhang Zheng, general manager of the ground services department for Spring Airlines, the first airline to adopt the system at Hongqiao airport. Currently, only Chinese identity card holders can use the technology.

Spring Airlines, Shanghai said Tuesday that passengers had embraced automated check-in, with 87 percent of 5,017 people who took Spring flights on Monday using the self-service kiosks, which can cut down check-in times to less than a minute and a half.

Shanghai,
Rana el Kaliouby, CEO of the Boston-based artificial intelligence firm Affectiva, demonstrates the company’s facial recognition technology, in Boston, April 23, 2018. VOA

Across greater China, facial recognition is finding its way into daily life. Mainland police have used facial recognition systems to identify people of interest in crowds and nab jaywalkers, and are working to develop an integrated national system of surveillance camera data.

Chinese media are filled with reports of ever-expanding applications: A KFC outlet in Hangzhou, near Shanghai, where it’s possible to pay using facial recognition technology; a school that uses facial recognition cameras to monitor students’ reactions in class; and hundreds of ATMs in Macau equipped with facial recognition devices to curb money laundering.

Also Read: Facial Recognition Technology Catches A Person With Fake Passpost At The US Airport 

But increased convenience may come at a cost in a country with few rules on how the government can use biometric data.

“Authorities are using biometric and artificial intelligence to record and track people for social control purposes,” said Maya Wang, senior China researcher for Human Rights Watch. “We are concerned about the increasing integration and use of facial recognition technologies throughout the country because it provides more and more data points for the authorities to track people.” (VOA)

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5G Smartphones Priced Around $150 To Be Unveiled By End of This Year: Huawei President

An estimated 5 million 5G capable smartphones were sold in December 2019 alone

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Additionally, Chinese local research agencies suggested that 20 per cent of all mid range smartphones will support 5G, thanks to the expansion of the network in the country. Pixabay

Chinese smartphone manufacturer Huawei’s President for 5G product line, Yang Chaobin believes that 5G smartphones priced around $150 are expected to be launched by the end of 2020 or in early 2021.

Huawei, along with its sub-brand Honor, has launched a number of 5G smartphones in 2019, including Mate 30 5G series, Mate 20 X 5G, Mate X 5G, Nova 6 5G, Honor V30 series, among others, news portal GizmoChina reported on Friday.

Recently, the company announced that it has shipped 6.9 million units of 5G smartphones as of December 2019, in addition to offering end-to-end 5G solutions. Additionally, Chinese local research agencies suggested that 20 per cent of all mid range smartphones will support 5G, thanks to the expansion of the network in the country.

An estimated 5 million 5G capable smartphones were sold in December 2019 alone. It is expected that more than 20 per cent of the smartphones under $290 will be 5G-enabled this year.

By 2021, the same statistics are expected to be applicable across the globe. Xiaomi co-founder Lei Jun recently announced the company is planning to pump $7 billion in 5G, AI and IoT over the next five years.

Earlier, Lei had also revealed that the company is planning to release more than 10 5G phones this year. US-based investment banking and financial service company Goldman Sachs has also forecasted a hefty 200 million 5G smartphone shipments globally this year.

Smartphones
Chinese smartphone manufacturer Huawei’s President for 5G product line, Yang Chaobin believes that 5G smartphones priced around $150 are expected to be launched by the end of 2020 or in early 2021. Wikimedia Commons

The new predicted value is about 20 times more than the sales figure of 2019.

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According to the estimates, there will be about 1 million new 5G base stations in China this year. This is higher than the original 600,000 prediction by Goldman Sachs. (IANS)