Shanghai is testing facial recognition at pharmacies to catch drug abusers

Portland is the first city in the US to bar both businesses and public agencies from using facial recognition. Will the rest of the country follow its lead?
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Every few days, China finds a new way to introduce facial recognition in people’s daily lives. According to a report from the South China Morning Post, Shanghai is testing face recognition terminals at pharmacies to catch folks attempting to buy controlled substances in substantial quantities, likely for resale.

The report noted buyers of drugs containing sedatives and psychotropic substances will have to verify themselves through the terminal. The system will scan both pharmacists and buyers to prevent any misdoings. 

The move is also to prevent people from obtaining medicines that contain raw materials for illegal drugs. For instance, ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, found in drugs for the common colds, is a key element to produce crystal meth. 

The system has been adopted by 31 healthcare institutions and has performed over 300 scans. Shanghai city administration aims to cover the whole city with these terminals by the first half of 2021.

Previously, China has experimented with facial recognition with subway rides, payments, catching criminals, and buying SIM cards. While some solutions may sound dystopian, this new system is relatively more well-intentioned, as it could help curb drug abuse.

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