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In December, a local media outlet found 5,000 pictures of faces being sold online illegally along with bank account, ID and phone numbers. (Picture: Zigor Aldama/SCMP)

Nearly 80% of people in China worry about facial recognition data leaks

Deepfakes, fraud and theft are high among concerns about facial recognition

This article originally appeared on ABACUS
People in China are growing wary of facial recognition, according to a new report. A survey of 6,152 people between October and November asked about attitudes toward facial recognition cameras. The results were published last week by Nandu Personal Information Protection Research Center, which is affiliated with the Southern Metropolis Daily newspaper.
The biggest concern is data leaks. Among the respondents, 79% said they fear facial data leaks and 65% said they were worried about deepfakes. About half of respondents were also concerned about fraud and theft.
China is one of the worst countries when it comes to collecting, storing and using biometric data, according to research from Comparitech. The country has faced many cases of private data leaks. In one recent case, a local media organization found 5,000 images of faces being sold for less than US$2 online. A group of Chinese tech companies led by AI giant SenseTime recently announced a new working group last month with the goal of creating industry standards for facial recognition.

Despite concerns, many respondents said facial recognition is convenient, and fewer than 44% of respondents said that the technology should be restricted. But 83% said that they want more control over their data, including the option to delete it. The report recommended introducing informed consent while collecting facial data.

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