China makes facial scans for phone users

BEIJING: China will require telecom operators to collect facial scans when new phone users register at offline outlets starting Sunday, according to the country's information technology authority, while Beijing continues to tighten cyberspace controls.

In September, China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology issued a notice about safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of citizens online, which established the rules to enforce the registration of real names. The notice says that telecom operators must use artificial intelligence and other technical means to verify people's identities when they take a new phone number. A China Unicom customer service representative said

AFP says the portrait matching requirement means that customers who sign up for a new phone number may have to register by turning their heads and blinking.

In the next steps, our ministry will continue ... increasing supervision and inspection ... and strictly promoting the management of the real name registry for telephone users, said the September notice.

Although the Chinese government has pressed for the real name of the telephone assistance to be registered and worried about the facial verification notice on December 1, with some expressive concerns, its biometric data could be leaked or sold. This is too much, wrote a user on Weibo, similar to Twitter, commenting on an article about the new rules. Control, and then more control, published another. People are being monitored more and more strictly, said a user of the microb-logging website. What are they afraid of (the government)? Others talked about the fear of data breaches. Before, thieves knew your name, in the future they will know how you will be, said one user, who received more than 1,000 likes.

Another criticized the policy and said: This is being implemented without the consent of the public. But others were less cynical and said the movement was simply in line with technological progress. China already censures and monitors the web widely, removing and blocking content that it does not want its citizens to see and speak.

While researchers have warned about the privacy risks associated with collecting facial recognition data, consumers have widely adopted the technology, although China saw one of its first demands on facial recognition last month.

In early November, a Chinese professor filed a lawsuit against a safari park in eastern Zhejiang Province for requiring facial scans to enter, according to the local court. In addition to the users of mobile devices, the Chinese social media site Weibo was forced to implement the real-name registry in 2012. The monitoring of social networks has increased in recent years as part of the Chinese government's drive to promote Healthy and orderly development. Internet, protect the security of the state and the public interest.