Face masks are mandatory in two provinces in China, including the city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus. The central government recommends that millions of others also wear face masks to stop the spread of the disease which has killed more than 500 people and infected nearly 30,000. The efforts to stop the spread of germs could save untold lives, but it’s also having a different effect, it’s interfering with China’s intrusive facial recognition program.
From condominium doors to bank accounts, huge swaths of China run on facial recognition. With consumers wearing face masks, they can’t complete ordinary transactions. But if they remove the masks, they risk infection.
And it gets worse.
Facial recognition is used to order food, board planes, and even use public restrooms in some areas to guard against overuse of toilet paper.
But don’t worry. The government is already working on a solution. Several companies have software that can see through masks, reconstructing the face, although they aren’t very accurate at the moment.
Wouldn’t it be easier for the Chinese government to forgo all the niceties and just embed a computer chip into everyone?