Millennium Post

First facial recognition ATM developed in China

Chinese researchers have successfully developed the first automated teller machine (ATM) with facial recognition technology to reduce the risk of theft, media reports said. The developers include Tsinghua University and Tzekwan Technology, a Hangzhou firm in eastern China’s Zhejiang province that provides security protection for financial transactions, South China Morning Post quoted Chinese official media as saying. Tzekwan chairman Gu Zikun, an anti-counterfeit technology expert, believes the technology will curb ATM-related crimes.

China currently relied mostly on imported ATM 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. The new ATM’s are expected to connect with the country’s banks and public security networks, which guarantees that only cardholders withdraw money, even if someone else knows the password.

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?, (the founder of Alibaba), questioned another.

Meanwhile, the second largest private sector lender HDFC Bank has decided to discontinue issuing slips after cash withdrawals at ATMs and will alert the customer through SMSes. “We have decided to discontinue issuing receipts after cash withdrawals. The SMS which will be sent will have detailed information on the withdrawn amount and the balance in account,” a senior bank official said. The bank is piloting the initiative at a few ATMs at present and will roll out the same across its network of over 11,700 ATMs by the end of June, the official added.  

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