China Makes Face Recognition Mandatory For New Phone Users


China has made it mandatory for all the telecom operators to collect the face scan of users who are registering for a new phone from an offline outlet. The new rule is implemented form December 1. According to the report, the country has passed this rule to tighten the cyberspace. Here are the details:

China Makes Face Recognition Mandatory For New Phone Users


Back in September this year, the Chinese industry and information technology ministry released a note stating, "safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of citizens online", this note made it mandatory for a citizen of the country to make registration with their real-name.

The notice also mentioned that the telecom company should make use of artificial intelligence and other technologies to verify the identity of all the users who are opting for a new phone number.

Unicom customer service representative of the country told AFP, that from December 1 onwards customers are mandated to record their face and blinking data under the portrait matching rule to opt for a new SIM connection.

"In next steps, our ministry will continue to...increase supervision and inspection...and strictly promote the management of real-name registration for phone users," the September notice states.

Do note that this is not the first time China is taking this type of step to increase the security in the country. China is pushing the real-name registration since 2013 which means that the phone numbers have to be linked with a valid ID card of users. These steps are taken to improve the use of AI and facial recognition technology which has become a crucial part of the country.

The report also suggests that Chinese users have expressed they mix support for this new face verification notice on Chinese social media Weibo. Some has also raised concerns about the leak of biometric data which might cause them trouble.


Researchers have also informed the government about the risk behind collecting facial recognition data. Let's see how China is going to deal with the data to keep it secure from breaches.


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