China says new Sim owners must submit to facial scans for identity check

Monday 2 December 2019 | 09:28 CET | News
The Chinese government has announced that telecom companies must take facial scans of all people registering new Sim cards, the Guardian reported. The rule, which states that telecom firms must deploy “artificial intelligence and other technical methods” to check the identities of people buying new Sim cards, went into effect on 1 December for physical stores. 

China’s ministry of industry and information said the measure was a way to “protect the legitimate rights and interest of citizens in cyberspace” and make Chinese mobile phone and internet users easier to track. The rule has however raised concerns about information security and consent. In November, a professor filed what is believed to be the country’s first lawsuit against the use of facial recognition. Guo Bing, a professor at Zhejiang Sci-Tech University alleged that a safari park in Beijing violated the country’s consumer rights protection law by scanning his face and taking his personal data without his consent. In another incidence, China’s education ministry said in September it would “curb and regulate” the use of facial recognition after parents grew angry when facial recognition software was installed without their knowledge at a university in Nanjing to monitor students’ attendance and focus during class. 

On the microblog Weibo, internet users gave out mixed reactions, some saying they were for it, as it increased identify security. Others said the rule invaded their privacy.

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Categories: Mobile & Wireless
Companies: Bing / Weibo
Countries: China
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