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In China, surveillance technologies timidly questioned

It is 7 p.m. at the Ascendant Phoenix Metropolis residence in central Hangzhou, 200 km southwest of Shanghai. The caretaker left his hut to take out the trash. In front of the entrance, Mr. Xu, 70, leans towards a screen topped with a small spherical camera. The door opens and Mr. Xu enters the compound of the residence. For him, the installation of facial recognition to control entry is a step forward. “Before, we had a map, we shouldn’t forget it. And then, when I come home from shopping with my hands full, it’s convenient not to have to rummage in your pockets ”, he testifies.

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The protection of his personal data? Nothing to scare this connected grandfather: “Facial recognition is already everywhere: I use it to open my smartphone, or to pay with [les applications] WeChat or Alipay “, he adds. The two main electronic wallets of web giants Tencent and Alibaba offer facial recognition payment in some stores.

As facial recognition takes over Chinese daily life, Hangzhou, one of the richest and most connected cities in the country, has chosen to legislate. The city of the Alibaba group, but also world leaders in surveillance cameras, Hikvision and Dahua, is the first to regulate the use of biometric tools to access private residences. It adopted a regulation on the management of property committees, at the end of October 2020, which provides that managers will not be able to impose these tools or share residents’ personal information with third parties.

Data leaks

This step is taken as more and more inhabitants worry about the development of these invasive technologies. In the residence of the Ascendant Phoenix, several tenants are opposed to this change. Mme Wang, 40, long brown hair, still relies on the guards to open the door for him. “Magnetic cards worked very well. We’re being sold more convenient technology, but it’s not enough, she plague. We have to protect our privacy. ” She also regrets not having been consulted before the implementation of the new system, in July 2020. “What happens if there is a data breach, or if the company that ran this service goes bankrupt? “

China news agency says images of people and their names can be purchased online for 0.5 yuan (6 cents) per head

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