China introduces mandatory face scans to access the Internet or mobile services
The Chinese government continues to tighten cyber controls. The latest decision of December 1 stated that Chinese people who want a new internet connection or a new phone number will have their faces scanned by the operator.
What are the reasons?
The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) announced the news on September 27. China wants a face behind every phone number and every one of the 854 million internet users in the Middle Empire. The government says that the only purpose of this new law is to “protect the legitimate rights and interest of citizens in cyberspace”. The new legislation is part of China’s efforts to closely monitor its citizens and their behavior.
How have people reacted?
The news worried and outraged an association like the Quadrature. Facial recognition is viewed with a suspicious look, with attention focused mainly on the security interests of this technology. Many users have complained that China possesses too much information about the personal life of its citizens. One of the users said: « Before, thieves knew what your name was, in the future, they’ll know what you’ll look like. » Another criticized the policy, saying: « This is being implemented without taking into account public opinion. » There are users that claim to have been receiving anonymous calls from people who knew their name and address, and asked: “Will they be able to tell what I look like now?”
However, there were also opposite views saying that the move was simply in line with “technological progress”.
In China, facial recognition is one of the tools that has been used in many fields.
How is face recognition used in China?
Facial recognition is a technology that has been widespread in China for several years. It is, for example, possible to pay for your ticket by scanning your face in the city of Shenzhen, next to Hong Kong. University residences use this system to open access to the interior. China already uses facial recognition technology to survey its population.