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SenseTime to lead Chinese working group setting facial biometrics standards

SenseTime to lead Chinese working group setting facial biometrics standards

A national-level working group led by SenseTime has convened in China to set standards for biometric facial recognition, as privacy concerns in the country rise, according to Chinanews.com. The group was created by the China National Information Technology Standardization Network, which reportedly also discussed working groups for standards in mobile devices, iris recognition, and vein recognition.

Other companies participating in the group include Tencent, iFlytek, Dahua, Ping An, Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial, Xiaomi, and others. The group will craft both technical and ethical standards, covering algorithm and application accuracy, and user privacy concerns.

Analysts say the move could help industry development, improve the safety of the technology’s usage, and lower costs.

“Ethics is crucial in the development of face recognition technology. It is necessary for insiders to be aware of where redlines are to ensure the healthy development of the industry,” China University of Political Science and Law cyber security expert Zhu Wei told the Global Times. “China is leading the world in this area and that’s why we have the responsibility to help set international standards.”

The National Internet Finance Association, a Chinese government body, has warned internet companies against the collection, use, and sharing of personal information from consumer without their consent, The South China Morning Post reports.

Concerns that businesses are violating user privacy by stealing, trading, or providing personal information to third parties under the guise of conducting big data research have increased in the country, according to the report. Earlier this year, the China Consumers Association (CCA) warned that many smartphone apps are collecting personal data unnecessary to their operation.

A National People’s Congress spokesperson said in April that the government is hurrying to draft data privacy protections, but without providing a timeline.

A Chinese university professor is currently suing a wildlife park for forcing him to submit to biometric collection to use a pass he had already purchased, in the starkest example yet of the country’s changing attitudes.

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