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it blocks in the United States, it progresses in China

A woman pays for her bill at a restaurant by facial recognition in Hangzhou, China, photo illustration. (MAXPPP)

After San Francisco and Oakland California, Portland, the largest city in Oregon, wants to ban facial recognition, and even more radical. Indeed, it is to prohibit its use not only by the administration, as the police, but also by private companies, such as airports.

The ban comes from Portland Police Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, a policewoman of African descent who discusses the risk of mistakes on some people. Indeed, current technologies have a high rate of false positives for women and people of color, which could lead to unjustified challenges. The ban could come next year in Portland, perhaps before a federal regulation on the issue. The debate on facial recognition is, indeed, more and more alive in the United States.

Meanwhile, in China, facial recognition, on the contrary, is growing. Since December 1, Chinese consumers must pass a facial scanner to subscribe a phone plan. Officially, it is officially to fight against fraud to ensure the real identity of people but there is already talk of the risk of slippage and piracy of databases filled with the faces of the population.

This provision is in addition to the social credit, the system of rating and identification of Chinese citizens already much criticized, and video surveillance that is omnipresent in the country. China has about 170 million cameras in the public space, many of which are coupled with facial recognition systems. This technology is even used in some public toilets to prevent the misuse of toilet paper. More worrying: the Chinese authorities would work on a project combining facial and genetic recognition, in order to identify the Uighurs, this oppressed Muslim minority, from physical characteristics deduced from their DNA.

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