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From toilet-paper dispensers to fast-food restaurants, travel and crime fighting, China is taking the lead in rolling out facial recognition technology. But while advocates warn it makes life easier, quicker and safer, opponents counter that it is another example of how the Chinese government keeps a sinister and increasingly close eye on its 1.4 billion people.Shanghai and other Chinese cities have recently started deploying facial recognition to catch those who flout the rules of the road.Communist-ruled China is already one of world's most heavily monitored societies, with estimates of more than 176 million surveillance cameras in operation.Police say facial recognition is making the country safer.Experts say China is racing ahead of Western countries in deploying facial scanners owing to its comparatively lax privacy laws and because Chinese are used to having their pictures, fingerprints and other personal details taken.
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