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North Korea introducing facial recognition tech developed in-country to domestic market


The use of facial recognition and other biometrics in North Korea seems to be accelerating, with a new domestically developed facial recognition device targeting its home market, and smartphones with facial or fingerprint biometrics reaching the North Korean consumer market.

The Chosun Ilbo reports that the Dambo facial recognition device has been developed at Kim Il-sung University.

“Dambo processes images faster and more accurately than other products,” North Korean website Meari, which Chosun Ilbo describes as a propaganda mouthpiece, claims. “It can also prevent deceptive acts using photos, video images, or cell phone pictures.”

Facial recognition technology from North Korea is sold in China and Southeast Asia through IT networks or restaurants, according to the report, and a source told the publication that it has only been sold overseas previously, but the country appears to be introducing it for use in-country as well.

A smartphone manufactured in North Korea offers 3D facial recognition among its features, according to a state radio broadcast reported by The Hankyoreh.

The ‘Blue Sky’ device from state electronics supplier Phurun Hanul Corporation, appears to use technology from Taiwan’s MediaTek in its processor, and runs on Android 7.1.1.

“Demand is increasing every day for the Phurun Hanul, which offers several advantages. It has a high processing speed, security features such as 3D high-speed facial recognition and fingerprint authentication, and the capacity to support multiple SIM Cards,” according to the radio broadcast.

Meari also described a smartphone with facial and fingerprint recognition released in September. Smartphone use in North Korea appears to be rising rapidly, according to information from defectors.

North Korea’s international airport is also deploying facial recognition, according to a report earlier this year.

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