Shanghai Airport Unveils New Facial Recognition Technology For Check-Ins

By Parker Diakite


Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport has unveiled new self-service kiosks that will allow passengers to check-in their flights using facial recognition technology.


In addition to flight check-ins, China’s rollout of biometric systems will enable baggage check-ins, security clearance and boarding capabilities, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China.


“It is the first time in China to achieve self-service for the whole check-in process,” Zhang Zheng, general manager of the ground services department for Spring Airlines told the Associated Press.


Spring Airlines is the first airline to adopt the system at Hongqiao airport. Officials said since its launch, passengers have embraced automated check-in, with 87 percent 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.


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


Similar efforts are currently underway at airports in Beijing and Nanyang City, according to the Associated Press. Now, only Chinese identity cardholders can use the technology.


Across China, facial recognition has found its way into daily life.


Police, for example, have used facial recognition systems to identify people of interest in crowds, jaywalkers, and are working to develop an integrated national system of surveillance camera data.


There are concerns from some that having an increase in convenience may come at a cost in a country with few rules on how the government can use biometric data.


“Authorities are using biometric and artificial intelligence to record and track people for social control purposes,” Maya Wang, senior China researcher for Human Rights Watch, told the Associated Press. “We are concerned about the increasing integration and use of facial recognition technologies throughout the country because it provides more and more data points for the authorities to track people.”

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Parker Diakite

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