The world’s first ATM with facial recognition technology has been introduced in China. According to the South China Morning Post, the new camera-equipped ATM was developed as a joint venture between Tsinghua University and Tzekwan Technology based in Hangzou in Zhejiang province. Tzekwan specializes in security for financial processes and transactions.
The new facial recognition ATM has a camera that takes a photo of the user and then compares it to existing ID images.
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Of note, while the new technology will dramatically reduce ATM fraud from using illegally obtained PIN numbers, it also means you can no longer withdraw money for a friend or relative who is too sick or elderly to go to an ATM themselves.
More on new facial recognition ATM
Tzekwan chairman Gu Zikun, who is a well-known anti-counterfeit technology expert, says that the new photo technology will cut down a lot on ATM-related crimes. A statement from Tzekwan highlights that ATM parts in China currently relied mostly on imported technology, but the new ATM, which includes high-speed banknote handling, better counterfeit-bill recognition and facial recognition, is produced in China with Chinese parts.
Gu also noted the new machine had passed government certification and would be available very soon. The manufacturer of the ATMs has not been announced.
The announcement of the new homegrown, high-security ATM comes as the Chinese government has been ramping up its “Made in China” campaign to transition the country from a manufacturing hub for low-value commodities to high-value products within the next decade.
ATMs that use fingerprint authentication can already be found in places such as Chile and Colombia. However, biometrics ATMs are not found in countries such as the U.S. because of privacy concerns and greater expense.
However, trials of facial recognition ATMs have been recently been undertaken elsewhere, including in the United States.
Those opposed to the use of facial recognition technology in China have expressed their worries about privacy online, for example, one user asked: “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?”