Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport (AP)
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It is now possible to check in automatically at Shanghai’s Hongqiao airport using facial recognition technology.

The move is part of an ambitious roll-out of facial recognition systems in China. But the rush to use the technology has raised concerns about privacy.

Airports using facial recognition technology

China are leading the world in deploying the technology. Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport unveiled self-service kiosks for flight and baggage check-in. As well as security clearance and boarding. Which should reduce the queues a bit.

Beijing and Nanyang city airports are also looking to fully deploy the technology.

Many airports in China already use facial recognition to help speed security checks. But Shanghai’s system is being billed as the first to be fully automated.

boeing 747 airlinerSpring Airlines is the first airline to adopt the system. Currently, only Chinese identity card holders can use the technology.

Spring Airlines said passengers had embraced automated check-in, with 87% of 5,017 people who took Spring flights on Monday using the self-service kiosks. The kiosks can cut down check-in times to less than a minute and a half. Bring it to the UK I hear you cry.

It isn’t just an airport using facial recognition in China

Across greater China, facial recognition is finding its way into daily life.

Mainland police have used facial recognition systems to identify people of interest in crowds and arrest jaywalkers. They are also working to develop an integrated national system of surveillance camera data.

facial recognitionChinese media are filled with reports of ever-expanding applications: A KFC outlet in Hangzhou, near Shanghai, where it is possible to pay using facial recognition technology. A school that uses facial recognition cameras to monitor students’ reactions in class. And hundreds of ATMs in Macau equipped with facial recognition devices to curb money-laundering.

So, good thing or an invasion of privacy? Personally, I’d welcome any airport using facial recognition technology. Can we get it installed at Gatwick in time for next summer please?

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