Macau: Security At Stake Between Facial Recognition And Data Privacy Laws?

Macau: Security At Stake Between Facial Recognition And Data Privacy Laws?

Macau security authorities have been pushing for the installation of facial recognition devices and implementation of facial recognition technology at casinos. However, the local data privacy laws are one of the major roadblocks in bringing facial recognition to casinos and gambling venues in Macau.

Supporting the security authorities, Macau lawmaker, Lam Lon Wai, has asserted that the privacy laws are getting in the way of general law enforcement, reports Macau Daily Times. During a Macau legislative assembly plenary session, the legislator is reported to have said that “the Personal Data Protection Law is somehow obstructing law enforcement.”

Lam also pointed out the increase in the number of criminal cases, which was 11.7 percent higher than the 2017 figures. He emphasized that the issue is pertinent and must be addressed as it is also taking a toll on Macau’s image. It should be noted that a negative portrayal of the gambling hub also negatively impacts on the city’s economy as it depends mostly on tourism and casinos.

The casino-related crimes and kidnappings have also been on the rise in Macau. Earlier this month a gambler was found beaten to death in a guest house in Macau. The perpetrators of the crime were local loan sharks who not only kidnapped the gambler but also beat him to death after he failed to repay the gambling loan. The kidnappers also videotaped the incident and sent it to the victims family asking for a ransom and repayment.

The recent murder was not an isolated incident. The casino-related crimes have been on the rise in the Chinese territory. While releasing the casino-related crime figures, the law enforcement said that at least 438 casino-related crimes have been reported in the first three months of 2019. Of all the crimes, illegal loans comprised nearly 25 percent as 81 cases related to unlawful gambling loans were registered. The number of illicit loans related to casinos increased by 37.3 percent.

Implementation of facial recognition technology is being seen as an essential step to curb gambling and casino-related crimes.

“Maybe a change to the Personal Data Protection Law is needed to improve smart law enforcement because it has been obstructing law enforcement in some ways,” Lam asserted.

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