Police to test iris-facilitated border crossing on residents

Iris-facilitated border crossing using the eye will be tested on invited residents during the next phase of testing for the technology, the Central District Municipal Advisory Committee has said.

Citing the Public Security Police Force (PSP), committee vice president Ao Ieong Kuong Kao and member Edgar Tam told a press conference the first phase of border-crossing and stress tests on the technology had been concluded.

Currently, the system is being fine-tuned. With six border checkpoints at which human channels possess the necessary hardware, over 500 pieces of such equipment has been installed.

The next phase of the test will involve inviting local adult residents for data collection and border crossing tests, before the technology is fully rolled out to all Macau residents for border crossing with digital identity.

Tam said iris-facilitated border crossing is safer and more accurate than fingerprints but requires higher technological standards. Wearing colored shades or contact lenses will not be possible for iris-facilitated border crossing. The technology will also be unavailable at the Qingmao Border checkpoint where juxtaposed e-channels are widely used.

Committee vice convenor Wu Hang San also said during her pre-agenda speech that the technology had been introduced in the Border Gate checkpoint.

She believed the widespread use of such technology would be difficult, considering its high introduction and maintenance costs. She suggested that the government continue to work with local associations to promote the “benefits” of the technology and bolstering its popularity by further improving the iris data collection technology.

Meanwhile, committee member Leong Wai Kei said that with some people having concerns over the use of iris data, the government should work more closely with local associations to promote the use of digital identity.

“Moreover, residents should be educated about personal data protection and cybersecurity, so as to decrease the abuse of their digital identities and ensure the safety of data,” Leong added. He also suggested further promotion of the use of digital identity.

The committee has also discussed the government’s proposal to pedestrianize Rua de Felicidade, colloquially referred to in English as the Happiness Street.

Member Lei Kit Ian, an educator, suggested the government take a cultural education approach to the project, considering the red-light district history of the street. He said the street encapsulated the Lingnan culture, with featured dining and lodging establishments as well as the business-residence duplex layout of shops.

He believed the street could become a popular spot for educational tours that have recently become popular in both the mainland and Macau. Academics and parents can utilize the street for educational purposes. Spending during the tours will also help revive the economy of the district.

Several other members also made suggestions regarding the preservation and presentation of the street’s cultural background if the proposal becomes a reality.

Member Chang Ka Wa, meanwhile, reminded the government to conduct sufficient communication with residents before setting out the proposal, because each coin has two sides. It was suggested that the plan start at a small scale and gradually expand, with growing consensus from residents in the neighborhood.

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