Metro Passengers in Beijing, China, can enter and exit stations by scanning the palm of a hand, following a new technology developed by the Chinese social media giant Tencent.
The company said the technology was developed by the Youtu artificial intelligence lab and could recognise both surface-level palm prints and the hand’s veins.
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According to the Beijing Municipal Commission of Transport, the program first kicked off on Sunday on the Daxing Airport Express subway line to simplify the boarding process, saving time for passengers from swiping cards or scanning QR codes.
Passengers over the age of 14 can register the print of either palm through an automated process and provide relevant information to authorise the payment on WeChat, a popular messaging app in China.
Xin Jianhua, general manager of the public service centre at WeChat Pay, told ChinaDaily that palm scans could be gradually used in offices, schools, gyms and restaurants.
Currently, it is very useful for the elderly and those who have physical limitations. They can take the subway without using smartphone apps,”he said.
Despite the convenience brought by the palm-prints technology, it sparked controversy online.
Some privacy-conscious people were worried about breaching privacy and leaking information as biometric data theft became more common in recent years.
Is it really safe to collect biometric data?”one user asked on Weibo, a Chinese microblogging platform.
It’s quite useful when my phone runs out of battery, and I can still pay with my hand,”another user commented.
The service is currently only available for people who have completed real name verification, a requirement for WeChat Pay.
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