Shanghai rolls out biometric terminals to prevent drug abuse
The Chinese government has introduced a biometric drug terminal at 31 health care organizations in Shanghai that uses facial recognition to verify identity and prevent potential drug abuse by both patients and pharmacists, writes South China Morning Post.
Using facial recognition technology, local government wants to prevent abusers from accessing controlled prescription medication that could be used to develop hard drugs such as crystal meth.
To purchase medication that contains sedatives and psychotropic substances, identity will have to be verified through facial recognition. The system is expected to identity potential and high-risk abusers, as well as pharmacists involved in illegal activities.
The biometric terminals were rolled out in November for testing and by mid-2021 all medical institutions in the city should be equipped with such systems. The test pilot was conducted on 31 healthcare organizations in seven districts which ran over 300 facial scans.
A Harvard-trained doctor and professor of medicine living in the Canadian city of Vancouver unveiled a biometric-controlled opioids dispensing machines last year to decrease the number of drug-related deaths in North America. Similarly, the UK introduced biometric fingerprinting technology, to distribute drugs and to test for narcotics.
China has been leveraging biometric facial recognition technology for security and surveillance, mobile payments, identifying jaywalkers, and is now focusing on healthcare and education. In 2019, some 118 million people signed up for facial recognition payments in China, compared to just 61 million the year before, reported iiMedia Research. Almost half of the country’s population will use the technology by 2022, it predicts.
A survey by Nandu Personal Information Protection Research Centre, however, says 80 percent of Chinese people fear that their face biometric data may be leaked. In November, a Chinese university professor sued a wildlife park for forcing him to be scanned by facial recognition for park entry, objecting on privacy and data security grounds.