China Tech Giants Push For Face ID Standards

China Tech Wants Facial Recognition Standards

Tencent, Xiaomi and Ant Financial are among the Chinese tech giants partnering with artificial intelligence (AI) firm SenseTime in an effort to standardize the facial recognition industry, Abacus reported on Wednesday (Nov. 27).

The National Standardization Group for Facial Recognition Technology was launched last week by Hong Kong-based SenseTime and 27 other tech companies. Its goals include developing standards for safety and accuracy, as well as supervising the fast development of the technology.

Although facial recognition and biometrics offer security authentication and transaction speed, the measure also opens the door to data theft as cybercriminals seek ways to beat the system.

As facial recognition becomes more common, Chinese consumers are starting to air complaints about data privacy. The first facial recognition lawsuit in China was launched earlier this month after a university law professor from the eastern Zhejiang province was subjected to a facial recognition system in order to enter a wildlife park.

“Nowadays, face-scanning has become the daily norm for the general public to experience innovation and enjoy convenience,” Shang Jun of Shangtang Technology and SenseTime wrote in a public post on the social app WeChat, the news outlet Sixth Tone reported.

The technology is not without its problems: According to the post, those include “… identity theft and fraud resulting from a lack of regulation on technical accuracy, as well as security risks stemming from a lack of regulation on facial data collection, storage and usage.”

The plan was reportedly launched last week at a meeting of the National Information Security Standardization Technical Committee, a government body in China that oversees the standardization of information technology.

It has not yet been determined whether the standard will be legally binding, a SenseTime spokesperson told Sixth Tone.

China’s SenseTime raised $600 million in Series C funding last year, reportedly valuing the company at more than $4.5 billion. The AI giant raised $410 million in a 2017 Series B round.