Chinese Crackdown On Toilet Paper Theft Leads To High-Tech Rationing Of Squares

(CBS) — Chinese authorities have cracked down on thieves who steal a precious public resource from a Beijing park.

Published reports from the New York Times, United Press International and other outlets say public restrooms at Temple of Heaven Park in the Chinese capital now feature automatic dispensers equipped with facial-recognition technology.

tp2 Chinese Crackdown On Toilet Paper Theft Leads To High Tech Rationing Of Squares

A man uses an automatic toilet paper dispenser that uses facial recognition technology at a public toilet at the Temple of Heaven in Beijing on March 21, 2017. A years-long crime spree by Chinese toilet paper thieves may have reached the end of its roll after park officials in southern Beijing installed facial recognition technology to flush out bathroom bandits. (WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images)

Anyone who needs toilet paper for a bathroom break must have their faces scanned by a computer before the dispenser will spit out 2 feet of rationed squares. That same person cannot get a refill for another nine minutes.

Officials say previously, toilet paper supply was being regularly pilfered by people behind stall doors. They would wad up the material to take home with them, presumably to save money, leaving stalls cleaned out.

Is the facial-recognition system a technological overreach? Opinions are mixed, but at least now the park is dispensing higher-quality, two-ply toilet paper, according to one report.

tp Chinese Crackdown On Toilet Paper Theft Leads To High Tech Rationing Of Squares

An automatic toilet paper dispenser that uses facial recognition technology is installed at a public toilet at the Temple of Heaven in Beijing on March 21, 2017. (WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images)

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