Supermarket chain in Toronto might let customers pay using facial recognition
As if taking out your cell phone and tapping it on a machine wasn't already a dangerously easy way to pay for stuff, soon you might actually be able to use your face.
Foody Mart currently has six locations in the Toronto area.
Canadian businessman friendly with Beijing attempting to bring face-recognition to Canadian stores.— Graphenes (@Graphenes1) November 12, 2019
Wei Chengyi, owner of the Foody Mart grocery chain, confirmed the company is considering payment by Chinese-made facial recognition devices at its stores in Ontario and B.C. pic.twitter.com/qEQisbutnd
The controversial technology is currently experiencing several significant legal challenges in China, as many are questioning the amount of data and personal information being kept on residents.
Here’s a facial recognition system to discourage minor traffic violations in China. 🇨🇳— Rajendra Gupta (@rajendrargupta) November 13, 2019
Cross the road when you shouldn't and a picture of you with your name, ID card number pop up on the big screen for everyone to see. pic.twitter.com/TiAPAVkfrT
In order to use facial recognition for payment, a photo is simply taken of the customer's face which is then linked up to that person's account.
And that's it — no other form of identification or currency are required.
If Chengyi, who has with close ties to Beijing, succeeds in introducing this in Foody Mart locations, it'll be the first time it's used in any North American store.
SnapPay told Yahoo Finance they hope to deliver the first facial payment system to FoodyMart sometime in the beginning of next year.
Chengyi told the National Post that he hopes to bring the technology to his Canadian stores "because society moves forward and [they] will follow it."
But others are concerned about the new payment system.
Brenda McPhail, director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association specializing in privacy and security, told Yahoo Finance she finds the idea of introducing technology that could result in privacy breaches and hacks from mundane tasks "profoundly troubling."
And Cheuk Kwan of the Toronto Association for Democracy in China told the Post the introduction of this payment method is just another way that China is "encroaching on our society."
"Canada should have strong scepticism on any move initiated from CCP (Chinese Communist Party) influence under the guise of high-tech investment or business innovation," he told the Post in an email.
"It is not about refusing technological advantages, it is about the closure of our data to Chinese control."
In a news release issued last month, CEO and founder of SnapPay Spencer Xu said the new technology is all about convenience and speed.
"Facial recognition technology is an increasingly popular method of payment among global consumers," Xu said.
"By enabling consumers to pay with their ‘face’ North American merchants, particularly those with self-service kiosks, are providing an unprecedented level of convenience and speed in the checkout process, to a lucrative customer segment that increasingly demands it."
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