Temple of Heaven Park uses facial recognition to stop toilet paper theft

Occurred: March 2017

In an attempt to reduce the theft of toilet paper, restrooms in Beijing's Temple of Heaven Park were equipped with facial recognition systems. The machines will not dispense more paper to the same person until after nine minutes have passed. 

The move divided users, with some saying it was inappropriate and intrusive, whilst others reckoned it was necessary and long overdue. 

Park authorities told Beijing Wanbao that the daily amount of toilet paper used in its toilets had reduced by 20 percent. But some reports also said the machines could be unreliable, and caused delays and confusion.

As CNN noted, visitors say the biggest targets of the new crackdown are older people who stuff their bags and pockets full of toilet paper to take back home. Many public restrooms in China do not provide toilet paper, and visitors are expected to bring their own. 

System 🤖

Operator: Temple of Heaven Park
Developer: Shoulian Zhineng
Country: China
Sector: Govt - municipal
Purpose: Reduce toilet paper theft
Technology: Facial recognition
Issue: Appropriateness/need; Privacy; Robustness

Page info
Type: Incident
Published: March 2023