China would be needing the telecom operators to gather face scans when registering the new phone users at offline outlets starting from Sunday, as per the reports of the information technology authority of China, as Beijing continues tightening its controls on cyberspace.
Back in September, the industry and information technology ministry of China gave notice on the protection of the legal rights and interests of the online citizens, which laid out rules for enforcing the real-name registration.
The notice mentioned that the telecom operators should be using artificial intelligence and other technical options for the verification of the identities of the people when they take a new phone number.
A service representative of the China Unicom said that the December 1 portrait matching need means that the customers registering for a new phone number might have to record themselves turning their head and blinking.
As per the September notice, in the next steps, the ministry would continue to surge the supervision and inspection and would strictly see over the management of the real-name registration for the phone users.
The government of China has pushed for the real-name registration for phone users since at least 2013, which means they are linked to the ID cards to new phone numbers—the measure is to leverage AI comes as the facial recognition technology gains traction throughout China where the tech is used for everything from supermarket checkouts to surveillance.
The social media users of China reacted with a mix of support and worry over the 1st December facial verification notice, with some voicing concerns about their biometric data’s leakage or sale.