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China Now Requires Mandatory Face Scans For Phone Users

Accepted submission by RandomFactor at 2019-12-01 23:42:58 from the forcing everyone to upgrade to the latest iPhone dept.
Digital Liberty

Starting December 1st, China now requires telecom operators to collect face scans for new phone users [].

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.

The notice said telecom operators should 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 told AFP that the December 1 "portrait matching" requirement means customers registering for a new phone number may have to record themselves turning their head and blinking.

Online social media reactions on Weibo (a Chinese Twitter-like service) showed both support and opposition to the move.

Oversight of social media has ramped up in recent years as part of the Chinese government's push to "promote the healthy, orderly development of the Internet, protect state security and public interest".

It seems likely that reaction to future measures will be uniformly positive.

Original Submission