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

Occurred: March 2017

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

The move has divided users, with some saying it is inappropriate and intrusive, whilst others reckon it is necessary and long overdue. 

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

As CNN notes, 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. 

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