China introduces mandatory face scans for new mobile phone users

New Mobile Phone Owners Set To Have Face Scanned By Retailers

China introduces facial recognition technology for mobile phone users

Staring December 1, 2019, Chinese telecom carriers must check SIM card buyer identity with biometric facial recognition technology to reduce the number of fraud schemes and safeguard against terrorism attempts, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology decided in September, writes Bloomberg.

Details: The rule ensures that internet personas are tied to real identities as online platforms typically require users to register their phone numbers when signing up for services requiring real-name verification.

Nevertheless, the technology's increased presence has been met with pushback as some question whether it is being overused.

According to the notice, telecom operators need to use "artificial intelligence and other technical means" to check the identities of people registering SIM cards.

"The protection [of personal data] in the criminal law is not enough", she said at a symposium on facial recognition and privacy protection in Beijing last week.

China has been widely sensors and web policy, remove and block content does not want its citizens to see and talk about. In 2017, it had 170 million CCTV cameras in place across the country with the goal of installing an estimated 400 million new ones by 2020.

The country has also set up a "social credit" system to keep the score behaviors and interactions with people of all citizens in a single database.

There is evidence of mounting opposition to widespread facial recognition in China, whether it's on social networks or lawsuits against companies that try to make it mandatory.

Proponents of facial recognition argue it is more efficient and secure. It is used more and more, for example, to pay in shops and supermarkets.

In early November, a Chinese professor filed a claim against a safari park in Hangzhou, eastern Zhejiang province for requiring face scans for entry, according to the local court.

Chinese mobile operators are legally obligated scan the faces of any new customer using facial recognition technology. The "gait recognition" technology has reportedly already been rolled out in several Chinese cities, including Beijing and Shanghai.

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