Thai auntie unable to buy food after Poor Card facial recognition failure

Occurred: March 2024

A Thai woman trying to buy food on the country's welfare 'poor card' was rejected after a facial recognition system failed to recognise her. 

According to store owner Pannaphat Phromphitak, the 'auntie' had traveled many kilometres by motorcycle to buy food for her grandchildren using Thailand's state welfare card, only to be turned down by the system's facial recognition system. She was forced to return home empty-handed.

The incident raised questions about the accuracy and effectiveness of Thailand's poor card ThaiID digital identity verification system. Thailand launched ThaiID in 2019 and a facial recognition-enabled mobile app in July 2023.

System 🤖

Operator: Ministry of Social Development and Human Security
Country: Thailand
Sector: Retail
Purpose: Verify identity
Technology: Facial recognition
Issue: Accuracy/reliability; Human/civil rights
Transparency: Governance