Manual biometric identification (Photo: ShutterStock, kryzhov)
For those who remember, before the era of biometric passports, Ben Gurion Airport had a closed biometric identification system based on identification of the structure of the hand (not fingerprints, but the structure of the palm that is also unique to each of us, at the level of blood vessels and capillaries).
Now Chinese tech giant Tencent, owner and operator of WeChat, which is China's alternative to WhatsApp, social networks, payment services and everything, is allowing train passengers in the capital Beijing to pay for the ride by a similar way of identifying the structure of the palm at the entrance checkpoint. This method joins other biometric identification methods employed in the repressive country, which have raised concerns in recent years about the Chinese government's surveillance of its citizens.
Starting this Sunday, passengers who register for the Hizohi device will be able to pay for their journey to the airport by simply moving their hand over the identification terminal at the entrance to the train station. The identification will generate an automatic payment order in the WeChat app.
On the other hand, privacy activists such as Gordon Chang, who spoke to Fox News, oppose the move. "President Ping is creating a totalitarian state. Total social control," Chang says in an interview. "Such a measure definitely helps them. The country has 700 million surveillance cameras, about one for every two citizens. The country also tracks 1.69 billion citizens' smartphones, which is about the closest thing to total surveillance available. And China is developing more and more means to track its citizens. This palm recognition only gives the Beijing government more information about Chinese citizens," Chang says.
The lawyer and human rights activist believes that the government will eventually force all citizens to use the new form of identification.
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