Half of Australians comfortable with biometric recognition, Korea sees twofold user-rate increase

Half of Australians comfortable with biometric recognition, Korea sees twofold user-rate increase

Even though concerns about biometric facial recognition technology have been expressed, Australians are not worried about the technology and seem to accept it if used by police, found a national survey by Monash University reported by The Sydney Morning Herald.

Australia’s Department of Home Affairs has been pushing for a facial recognition database. The bill was rejected in October, but in the meantime facial recognition has been implemented by some schools and used in police investigations. According to the study, 61 percent of Australians believe facial recognition could ensure public safety, despite some accuracy and bias concerns. Almost half (49 percent) consider the technology an invasion of privacy, but 50 percent are not worried as long as there is transparency regarding data use and storage.

There is a lot of controversy around the wide deployment of facial recognition. Privacy advocates warned earlier this year that technology developed by an Australian entrepreneur to match suspects to their social media profiles was “very dangerous.” Victoria police have been using biometric technology to identity suspects, and even a few schools are using facial recognition to monitor attendance.

According to Monash University researcher Dr. Robbie Fordyce, Australians are still in the dark when it comes to how the technology works or the non-existent legislation. Surprisingly, survey respondents were more concerned about the technology’s use to track their shopping or workplace activity.

“There was a sense that people were more OK with the government having the data than private companies, but the reality is, in plenty of cases it will be private companies managing the data,” Fordyce told the Sydney Morning Herald. “People can cry foul about China but this technology is coming from many different nations around the world, and tends to be used in a non-standardized way. These companies won’t operate in the same way, they won’t store data in the same way, and they won’t make it accessible in the same way.”

Korea registers twofold increase in biometric recognition user rate

In other parts of the world, people would gladly hand over their biometric information if that means they can save time or automate processes. In Korea, for example, travelers line up at the airport to preregister biometric information needed for vein recognition to reduce human contact and to board planes faster, writes Korea JoongAng Daily.

Due to the global health crisis, travelers prefer biometric recognition and mobile passes instead of paper tickets and face-to-face identification. According to the Korea Airports Corporation (KAC), biometric recognition user rate has increased at least twofold in the first four months alone, compared to the entire 2019.

A palm vein authentication system has been installed at 14 airports in Korea to confirm passenger identity by scanning vein patterns of their palm. Following an agreement with the Korea Financial Telecommunications & Clearings Institute, KAC is using biometric palm information collected by the finance sector to identify people when they board on domestic flights. One million people have already registered their biometric information with financial institutions.

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