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14/12/2019 13:30:39  

Public facial recognition terminals in China can be fooled with just a mask, as some recent experiments have shown. The Verge reports: An AI company, Kneron, shared a video with The Verge of tests it ran at facial recognition terminals in China where it appeared to fool the systems. Kneron asked us not to publish the video, so we will describe what we saw -- and it looked pretty convincing. In two examples, a tester approaches AliPay and WeChat terminals at shops in China while wearing a 3D mask of his face, and the facial recognition system identifies the mask as his face, allowing the purchase. In another example, the same person feeds his ID card into a train station turnstile while wearing his mask, and the turnstile's facial recognition system accepts the mask as his face. There are definitely limitations to this type of test, though. The video only shows one person making attempts with their mask, and it's unclear if that one mask worked in every single attempt, or if another mask would work for each one of these tests as well. It's also worth noting that none of the systems were relying entirely on facial recognition for identification. Both the AliPay and WeChat terminals required the person to enter digits of the phone number associated with their identity, and at the train station, you have to present a physical ID card before the facial recognition system even starts scanning. Also, you might hope another human would intervene if a person pulled out a mask of another human's face while trying to pay for groceries?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

09/12/2019 18:30:01  

The first thing that visitors to the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg see is a wall of identity cards-- the pieces of paper that determined where people could live and work and whom they could love. From the outset, the apartheid regime's ability to discriminate against "nie-blankes" (non-whites) depended on having a robust system of identifying people. The opposite problem confronts most other countries in Africa today. Governments have little idea who their citizens are [Editor's note: the link may be paywalled]. From a report: African countries struggle for several reasons. One is racial discrimination. Uganda, Liberia and Sierra Leone explicitly withhold nationality from children of certain races and ethnicities. Other countries do so informally by refusing to issue papers. Another reason is a failure by governments to explain to their citizens how they might benefit. Consider birth registration, the most basic form of official identity. South Asia more than doubled its rate of birth registration to 71% between 2000 and 2014. In sub-Saharan Africa the rate dropped by one point, to 41%, over the same period. For poor villagers, going to a government office to register a birth is time-consuming and expensive, especially when officials demand bribes. Some countries charge a fee, which is a disincentive. Others penalize late registrations. One way to encourage people is to link birth registration to benefits such as child-support grants -- something South Africa did with great success. But that approach may also have the perverse consequence of denying payments to the very poorest. Money is another reason many African countries have fallen behind their peers. Extending the state's reach to remote areas can be expensive. So, too, is paying for skilled labour of the sort required to fill in forms accurately and to operate biometric machines. The technology itself is costly, especially for small countries that do not have much buying power.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.