Government approves cigarette vending machines with face-recognition tech

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    A couple weeks ago, the media exposed a fatal flaw in cigarette vending machines using face-recognition technology to check the age of customers – the cameras on the machine could be easily fooled by photographs and magazine pictures. Seeing reports such as the one embedded above, I expected that Fujitaka’s face-recognition technology would not be getting official government approval until it solved the major flaw exposed by the media.

    However, it now seems that Fujitaka has convinced the government that their technology works. Mainichi reports that the Finance Ministry has approved cigarette vending machines that use face recognition technology.

    The vending machines, which determine a person’s approximate age from the size of their eyes and mouth and their bone structure, were developed by Kyoto Prefecture company Fujitaka Co., a major producer of vending machines.

    Vending machines designed to prevent minors from purchasing cigarettes were rolled out across Japan in July, but the taspo cards that are used as age identification have yet to become widespread.

    With face-recognition technology, users will be able to purchase cigarettes without a taspo card. There are already 5,000 such machines in operation across Japan.

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