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Face-Off: When Technology's Shield Becomes the Sword

Online gaming platforms have been improving their electronic identity verification systems recently. Some companies now utilize multi-layered "face verification" checkpoints to stop underage users from accessing adult accounts. Despite these precautions, a shadow industry continues to develop to circumvent these measures.

Recently, the Leiyang City Court presided over a trial regarding a criminal group that used "face-passing" technology to violate online game facial recognition systems and make unlawful profits.

In May 2021, a defendant named Zi realized that "face-passing" could yield illicit gains while he was leasing online game accounts. Subsequently, he, along with Zhou and Wang, bought a "face-passing" tutorial worth 5,000 yuan. This method uses illegally obtained face and ID images to make moving videos, breaking facial verification programs. The team started offering their service after perfecting the method, helping other gamers and account owners bypass the facial recognition systems and making money as a result. Due to the high demand for their services, Zi later added a new recruit, Xie.

Between May and September 2021, the four people made over $33,000 illegally.

The court decided that Zi and the other three who used "face-passing" tech to help others skip the facial recognition tech that online gaming firms had set up were guilty of the crime of getting data from computer systems without permission. Because of the severity of their actions, the court gave the four people jail terms that ranged from 2 to 3 years. They must give back all the money they earned illegally and pay a $60,000 fine as well. The verdict is active.

Facial data is very easy to collect and is a one-of-a-kind and irreversible biometric marker with strong societal traits. Facial recognition technology is not only restricted to gaming addiction prevention systems; it is now present in many areas of our everyday existence. In "face-passing," criminals use facial data without authorization, violating citizens' personal information and creating substantial risks to their personal and financial safety.

Using ID information with caution and avoiding the uploading of photos with vital personal data are crucial in daily life. Parents should teach and monitor their children to avoid being tricked by bad actors, which may cause their personal information to be exposed, threatening their legal rights.

Source: Hunan High Court
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