'World's first' facial recognition ATM unveiled in China

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 31 May, 2015, 6:38am
UPDATED : Monday, 01 June, 2015, 11:31am

Mainland researchers have developed the first automated teller machine with facial recognition technology.

The developers include Tsinghua University and Tzekwan Technology, a Hangzhou firm that provides security protection for financial transactions, Xinhua reported.

Tzekwan chairman Gu Zikun, an anti-counterfeit technology expert, believes the technology will curb ATM-related crimes. ATM parts on the mainland currently relied mostly on imported technology, the report said, but the new machine, which combines high-speed banknote handling, improved counterfeit-bill recognition and facial recognition, was wholly Chinese.

Gu said the product had passed the authorities' certification and would soon be available on the market. It is unclear who will manufacture the ATMs and how it will collect facial data.

The news come a week after the state launched its "Made in China" campaign, which aims to transition the mainland from a manufacturing hub for low-end goods to high-quality products within the next 10 years.

Cash machines using fingerprint authentication have sprung up in countries like Chile and Colombia. These biometrics ATMs are not being used by some countries, such as the United States, because of privacy concerns and its high cost.

Trials of facial recognition ATMs have been carried out elsewhere. In December, a credit union in Baltimore tested such an ATM in the hopes it would stop ATM theft.

But opponents to the technology have taken their concerns about privacy and accuracy online.

"What happens if someone had plastic surgery to look like someone else," one user asked. "How much will it take to turn my face into Jack Ma's?"