The Los Angeles Times waded into the facial recognition debate with a recent article about PopID, the developer of a new naked payments solution that has started to gain traction in California. Pop Pay is currently available in smaller restaurants like Daddy’s Chicken Shack, and at regional chains like Lemonade.
To use Pop Pay, customers must first link a selfie and a credit card to their Pop Pay account. They can then stand in front of a Pop Pay terminal and submit to a facial recognition scan to pay for goods and services at participating establishments. The contactless service is convenient and sanitary, which has made it more popular during the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, the technology has raised the expected privacy concerns, especially in the wake of the anti-police brutality demonstrations in the past few months. While face payments have become increasingly common in China, there is much more resistance in the US. PopID founder John Miller acknowledged those concerns, and stressed that the company does not share personal information without the user’s consent. That means that it will not give law enforcement agencies access to its facial recognition database.
“We want to distinguish between surveillance stuff, security cameras watching you and trying to ID, and our service, which is consumer opt-in,” Miller said. “I think we’d have a pretty good case that we’re the type of facial recognition platform they should be allowing to operate under very careful regulations and policies.”
Miller noted that PopID is compliant with the Biometric Information Privacy Act in Illinois, and that Pop Pay is not a surveillance system. Rather, it only performs a facial recognition scan when the user triggers a step-up event when they want to make a payment at the point of sale. The software also runs on standalone devices, so a store cannot connect it to their own security cameras.
The main question, of course, is whether or not that is enough to reassure potential customers. In that regard, Miller and his customers credited Face ID for normalizing facial recognition.
“Ten years ago, there was no way I’d ever sign up for facial recognition,” said Daddy’s Chicken Shack Co-Owner Chris Georgalas, before going on to cite the impact of Face ID. “The people that use it, they love it, and they come back and they use it again.”
Miller drew a line between the public and private use of facial recognition technology. Many of the establishments that are using Pop Pay have also adopted Pop Entry, which performs a temperature check when employees clock in with a facial recognition scan.
Source: The Los Angeles Times
August 14, 2020 – by Eric Weiss