Biometric technology used to prevent subletting in Beijing housing projects

A pilot program using facial recognition technology to prevent subletting in public rental housing projects has been underway in Beijing since the end of last year, Xinhua reports. Public rental housing is primarily reserved for low- and middle-income residents and workers without housing.

An official with the Beijing affordable housing construction and investment center told the state-run press agency that the biometric technology can prevent beneficiaries of government-funded housing from renting their apartments to others for profit, and ensures the safety of residents.

Households who illegally sublet a public rental unit are not allowed to apply for public rental housing within five years, according to rules released by the Beijing Municipal Government in December last year.

All residents are registered with their identities and faces in the facial recognition system. Service staff, couriers and food delivery people can also enter the public rental housing community after registration. Global Times indicates that biometric data on more than 100,000 tenants has been collected in the database so far.

All public rental housing projects in Beijing are expected to adopt the facial recognition system by June.

Beijing is also using facial and speech recognition technology to operate an “internet court,” which allows plaintiffs and defendants to participate through computers or mobile devices, while juries and other parties are connected by screens.

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