China's lawmakers propose iris scans for all, stress privacy security

By Yin Han Source:Global Times Published: 2018/3/18 22:53:40

Identification system must protect privacy: analyst

Interior view of the Great Hall of the People before the sixth plenary meeting for the First Session of the 13th National People's Congress in Beijing on Sunday Photo: VCG

China's top lawmakers suggested eye recognition technology be added to the country's national identity system, with pilot trials in the education and public security sectors.

Zhao Qisan and 28 deputies to the 13th National People's Congress (NPC) from Central China's Henan Province suggested iris identification be combined with China's social security card, identity card and passport, The Beijing News reported Saturday.

"Iris recognition should have pilot trials in certain provincial regions and sectors, such as public security, finance, social insurance, education and poverty relief," wrote Zhao in a motion he and other deputies submitted to the 13th NPC.

"Iris recognition, just like fingerprint and face recognition, is a method of biometric identification that uses pattern-recognition techniques on images of irises of individuals' eyes," Zhi Liang, assistant president of IrisKing, a Beijing-based company, told the Global Times on Sunday.

"Iris recognition is more precise and accurate due to its uniqueness to individuals over other biometric identifications such as facial recognition or fingerprints," Zhi said.

The false positive rate of iris recognition was 1 in 1.2 million, better than fingerprints' 1 in 100,000 and facial recognition's 1 in 100, according to an IrisKing report sent to the Global Times on Sunday.

The technology has also been used for driver's license tests, retiree certification or demographic information in regions including Henan, Hebei and Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

However, some people point to the significant risks to privacy resulting from collecting and storing this personal information, according to Oxfam, the UK's charity.

"Legislation is required to ensure the security of private information of citizens, including iris information," according to Zhao.

"The data security issue runs through the whole process of biometric recognition and each company involved in the industrial chain should be responsible for data security," Zhi said.

A social credit system "needs to be completed accompanying the new technology with penalties to be clarified and imposed on those who cheat," Yao Yongling, a professor at School of Public Administration of Renmin University of China in Beijing, told the Global Times on Sunday.

According to Zhi, the iris recognition technique has been applied in many fields in China including mobile phones and mining.

It is expected that the technology will be applied in more areas such as non-cash payment and national identification.

India enrolled 1.19 billion residents, or about 93 percent of its population, in its biometric ID system Aadhaar, which ties fingerprints, iris scans and photos of Indian citizens to a unique 12-digit number.

Newspaper headline: Deputies propose iris scans for all


blog comments powered by Disqus