(Yicai Global) Nov. 28 -- China's central bank has underscored the need to protect user data as facial recognition technology is being widely used in the area of electronic payments.
The country must steadily promote the use of such technology in the field but protect and sensibly use the biometric information gathered, Luo Yongzhong, deputy director of the technology department at the People's Bank of China, said at the Eighth China Payment and Clearing Forum in Beijing today.
Facial recognition has now replaced QR code scanning as the most common user identification method when making electronic payments, according to a recent report by iiMedia Research, a third-party data mining and analysis organization.
"The consumer rights protection law should be strictly enforced," Luo said at the forum. "For example, check the user's willingness to pay by means of a payment password, and don't initiate transactions without the user's knowledge to protect their rights to information and property security."
The purpose and way such information will be used must be mentioned when collecting data, and the user's consent must be clearly obtained before-hand, he said. Any data collection unrelated to the purpose must be avoided.
In addition, because people's faces are generally exposed, there is the possibility of data being collected and identified without the person being aware of it. So users' willingness to make payments cannot be determined solely by facial recognition but must be verified relying on multiple characteristics.
This year can be regarded as the first year of China's development of facial scanning for payments, according to iiMedia Research. The number of people using the technology has reached 118 million, and will exceed 760 million by 2022.