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Commuters are willing to use facial recognition technology that charge them each time they get on and off their mode of transport.
The technology has already become part of everyday life in China — in some cities it is used to verify commuters’ identities through camera technology installed at train stations.
Visa’s and Stanford University’s new Future of Transportation: Mobility in the age of the Megacity report, quizzed more than 20,000 people in 19 countries including Australia and found 54 per cent of Australians would be willing to try facial recognition or bluetooth technology when commuting.
Visa’s head of product for Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific Axel Boye-Moller said while this type of technology is yet to be used by Australian commuters this could change.
“We have rolled it (biometric) out through tap and pay and using your mobile, biometrical authentication is an important part of that customer experience,” he said.
“There’s a lot of work going on including some providers that are looking at biometric authentication in a transit environment.”
Mr Boye-Moller said this would allow commuters to do away with using a transport or bank card to pay for their commute.
Instead customers could rely on facial recognition to pay by linking it up to an app that contains their bank information.
Transport NSW has already gone live on ferries, light rail and trains allowing customers to tap and pay with their bank card and/or compatible smartphone or smartwatch when they get on and off transport.
And in Melbourne similar technology is still in the trial phase for commuters using trains, buses and trams.
University of Wollongong professor Katina Michael, an expert in biometrics, said commuters would be open to using biometrics to pay because “they think they are being monitored anyway”.
“We’ve got cameras everywhere and if they are going to be adopted to connect with people’s facial images then people will become complacent,” she said.
“They think they don’t have privacy anyway so it will help them get on and off public transport.”
The report also showed Australians’ reliance on using their own vehicle is the highest in the world — 72 per cent use this mode of transport to get to and from work each day.
It also showed 64 per cent would be willing to pay with a debit or credit card for all modes of public transport.
Citation: Sophie Elsworth, “Travellers want to try facial recognition technology to pay”, The Cairns Post (Sun Herald), 27 February 2019.
I cast doubt on the survey findings of the University of Stanford study. As I suspected it was an online survey, confirmed by the reporter. Over 50% of commuters were willing to use their biometric to pay for transportation costs in 19 countries?
Online surveys attract individuals using very small incentives for surveys they fill out. These are people who are already ‘in sync’ with the gig economy. Postal surveys would yield different results because you are asking a different kind of demographic what they think.
I described consumer responses toward biometrics as a complacency to the number of surveillance cameras that are currently tracking people. Have individuals lost faith in privacy?
So many government agencies now demand a passport-like, drivers license-like facial image registration, that people are likely sick of enrolling into such systems. The Capability has changed everything as the government amasses all photographic ID into the one big system.
The fact that in Australia, soon it will not be illegal to drive without a card token for a drivers license, has opened the flood gates to other services being utilised with unique biometrics.
I identified major problems with false positives and false negatives. Revenues lost, mistakes with computers being “blocked out of travel”, and also the issue of identical twins who could rort the system.