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Chinese government warns about vulnerability of residential facial recognition smart door locks


China’s State Administration of Market Regulation has warned people of the “hidden dangers” of smart door locks with facial recognition, particularly if they are also unlocked with a smart card, Abacus reports.

Without mentioning particular brands or explaining technical details, authorities have recommended disabling facial recognition and instead using a multi-factor method, such as fingerprints and a password, to unlock the door.

Abacus says roughly 6 million smart door locks were shipped in China last year, twice as many as in 2016, according to a report by JingData. While they are estimated to be in about 5 percent of homes, smart locks are deployed in closer to 10 percent of apartments rented out by several large property companies, including Chinese Airbnb equivalent Xiaozhu.

While facial recognition technology is more widely embraced in China than in many other parts of the world, with for example facial recognition recently introduced for medical bill payments at Jiangxi Provincial People’s Hospital, Abacus also notes that the state-run publication People’s Daily published an article earlier in October warning that the technology could be abused by malicious actors, and noted a lack of operational details in Chinese law for protecting personal data.

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