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Technology China now requires face scans to sign up for phone service

04:25  02 december  2019
04:25  02 december  2019 Source:   engadget.com

China introduces mandatory face scans for phone users

  China introduces mandatory face scans for phone users China will require telecom operators to collect face scans when registering new phone users at offline outlets starting Sunday, according to the country's information technology authority, as Beijing continues to tighten cyberspace controls. In September, China's industry and information technology ministry issued a notice on "safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of citizens online", which laid out rules for enforcing real-name registration.

China is as determined as ever to link real identities to the digital world. As of December 1st, anyone signing up for a new cellphone or cellular data It's not clear that China will get rid of face scans after the verification process, potentially adding more sensitive data to the mix. Whether or not the

People in China are now required to have their faces scanned when registering new mobile phone services , as When signing up for new mobile or mobile data contracts, people are already required to show their national identification card (as required in many countries) and have their photos taken.

China is as determined as ever to link real identities to the digital world. As of December 1st, anyone signing up for a new cellphone or cellular data contract is required to not only show their national ID card, but submit to a face scan to verify that identity. It's ostensibly meant to reduce fraud, but it also reduces your ability to use phone services in an anonymous way -- it'll be that much easier for the Chinese government to silence dissenters.

a man doing a trick on a skate board on a city street

There are privacy issues beyond that, too. China is known to use facial recognition to track and suppress ethnic minorities, and also uses it against virtually everyone to spot travelers and cars that are on a state-run blacklist. It's not clear that China will get rid of face scans after the verification process, potentially adding more sensitive data to the mix. Whether or not the scans are immediately useful for surveillance, they might also represent prime targets for hackers who want photos to help commit fraud.

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. Even the government promised to tone things down after a university tested facial recognition to monitor student attendance. However, it's doubtful the Chinese government will back down on face scans that help stifle political opposition.

BBC News

China names and shames tech giants for app privacy violations .
Chinese tech giants Tencent and Xiaomi have been reprimanded by Beijing for designing apps that infringe on users' privacy, even as the Communist regime amasses its own collection of personal data. Tencent is China's leading online video game company as well as a giant in messaging and myriad other apps. - Face scans -In September, a face-swapping app named Zao quickly became one of China's most downloaded apps but also triggered a backlash over privacy fears.The app allowed users to insert themselves into scenes from well-known movies using "deepfake" technology.

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