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Chinese wildlife park sued over switch to facial recognition entry

Chinese wildlife park Hangzhou Safari Park has been sued for an alleged breach of contract after switching from a fingerprint-based entry system to one that uses facial recognition.

Guo Bing, a university law professor at Zhejiang Sci-tech University, purchased an annual pass for 1,360 yuan ($190/£147/€170) in April, but requested a refund after learning of the technology change.

He was reportedly concerned that his data would be used to “steal” his identity, and, when the park refused the refund request, Guo filed a civil lawsuit at a district court in Fuying, Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang province.

“The purpose of the lawsuit is not to get compensation but to fight the abuse of facial recognition,” he said, according to the South China Morning Post.

Guo, who is demanding 1,360 yuan compensation plus costs, said that when he bought the 12-month unlimited visits ticket for himself and a family member, he was required to provide his name, phone number and fingerprints, which he complied with.

However, following the introduction of the facial recognition entry system, the attraction required all annual pass-holders to update their records – including having their photograph taken – before October 17 or they would no longer be allowed to enter.

Guo said he believed the change was an infringement of his consumer rights.

A manager at the park said the upgrade was designed to improve efficiency at the entrance gates.