Chinese biometrics expert says iris recognition is top solution amid COVID-19

Chinese biometrics expert says iris recognition is top solution amid COVID-19

Biometric iris recognition technology could solve problems caused by COVID-19 such as facial recognition’s inability to recognize people when wearing masks, according to Chinese biometrics experts interviewed by state-run publication the Global Times.

Research Fellow and iris recognition technology expert from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) Institute of Automation Sun Zhenan believes unique characteristics such as the iris, which are stable through one’s lifetime, could reduce technical problems as it is harder to forge. Given the COVID-19 context, iris recognition is more hygienic as it also does not have to involve physical touch.

China has already created an iris biometrics database containing the information of 20 million people, included in a system developed by Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau and IrisKing. IrisKing was launched by the institute in 2006 to bring its technology to market. According to an employee interviewed by Global Times, the database is used to ID people for public security purposes.

Sun claims Chinese researchers have been working on iris recognition methods and theories since the 1990s, but given the complicated collection process it has not been very popular. The technology has been implemented in a platform used by mining companies and it can support time and date attendance, access control, e-payment and mobile unlock, among others.

“China has developed advanced iris recognition technology with successful applications in the international market,” Sun said.

China’s newly introduced Civil Code emphasizes biometric data protection, while the National Information Security Standardization Technical Committee has implemented management rules to protect user rights over their data, the publication claims after speaking with an anonymous expert.

According to Sun, there is a need for more further regulations to address encoding, use cases in certain industries and imaging for multiple users.

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