beijing metro system

Beijing to introduce bio-recognition technology on metro transit system

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Beijing is planning to introduce bio-recognition technology at train stations later this year as a way to improve transport efficiency and reduce costs, according to state media.

Bio-recognition technology includes palm scanners and facial-recognition cameras and could speed up passenger flow through subway stations at peak times.

Facial-recognition technology could be used to track passenger movements, with cameras connected to online networks that recognise people when they enter a station, potentially allowing them to bypass traditional ticketing.

The palm scanners would enable some people to swipe their hands to get through ticket turnstiles.

China is increasingly using surveillance technology for everything from bolstering domestic security to speeding up orders at fast-food restaurants. However, this degree of monitoring is stoking concerns from human rights groups that China is building a nationwide surveillance system in order to quell dissent.

A social credit system introduced earlier this year in China uses secret algorithms to distinguish ‘good’ and ‘bad’ citizens. Those with poor ratings are prohibited from using some public transport or taking flights.

Blacklisted travellers are likely to include individuals to whose social media posts the ruling Communist Party has taken a dislike, along with those found to have committed financial wrongdoing.

Beijing’s sprawling underground transport system plans to introduce the bio-recognition technologies this year, according to the state-run China Daily newspaper, citing Zhang Huabing, head of enterprise development for Beijing Subway, the main train operator.

China Daily also reported that palm scanners were already being used on the Shanghai subway system, which compared scanned images with a database of hand prints in seconds.

It said Beijing has 22 urban railway lines and that on an average working day more than 10 million passengers ride the city’s subway trains.

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