Beijing Restrooms Get Facial Recognition to Thwart Toilet Paper Bandits

Image ShutterstocK

Image ShutterstocK

Visitors to the loos at Beijing's Temple of Heaven, a cluster of temples that are a Unesco World Heritage Site, must now go through any of the six facial recognition machines installed there before they can get toilet paper, China's Legal Evening News said in a report on Sunday (March 19).

The tourist attraction is reportedly frequented by visitors who take large amounts of loo roll home.

This is how it works: Each person stands in a designated area, where the machines scan his or her face.

Buying toilet paper can be a chore and, if your partner insists on only using luxury brands, expensive as well.

Citing a number of Beijing newspapers, BBC reports that the machines have been installed as part of a two week trial.

The machines are installed in three public toilets so far. The machine dispenses paper of a certain length but to get more, users have to wait to use the scanner again.

According to the People's Daily, the trial has not been without its problems.

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The new smart toilet paper system has also sparked discussions on social media, particularly over privacy and security concerns.

Earlier this month, Chinese media reported that visitors to the Temple of Heaven park's toilets were taking excessive amounts of toilet paper, some of whom were seen stuffing their bags. Afterward, they are issued a 60-cm long piece of toilet paper by the wall-mounted machine.

Toilet paper use at one of the park's public toilets has dropped from 20 to four rolls within three days, reports said.

It has put up posters as well as broadcast messages on its public announcement system exhorting visitors to use less paper.

The case has both amused and exasperated Chinese netizens, who have condemned the bog-standard behaviour of those raiding the park's toilet paper supply.

The park has been providing free toilet paper since 2007, and has to cope with tourists who consume inordinate amounts of toilet paper when using the facilities.

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