As of Sunday, December 1, China's telecom operators will have to collect digital images of the faces of new mobile and internet service customers, by government decision.
The goal is to use facial recognition as identification and authentication to ensure that the user is effectively the person who registered the service. Hence, consumers now subscribing for a new mobile phone number in any store in China must present their ID card and be photographed.
"The 'face correspondence' requirement means that when people buy a new phone number they have to register by turning their heads and blinking," said a source from state-owned telecommunications company Unicom, quoted by the news agency. France Presse.
The Beijing government justifies the move, announced in September, by safeguarding citizens' legitimate rights and interests in cyberspace by limiting anonymous online activity.
While, on the one hand, this new rule can help reduce fraud in service subscription with ghost users, it helps China to have even more control over its citizens.
Facial recognition systems are already common in many Chinese cities, particularly for making payments. From now on, with the entry into force of this new measure, the database will grow and become more accurate.
And if many consumers agree and adhere to this new technology in everyday activities, some object to alleging violation of privacy. This is the case of Guo Bing, a law professor at Zhejiang University of Technology, who complained about a safari park in Hangzhou for having forced season ticket holders to undergo a face recognition procedure rather than resorting to to fingerprints, as was common to do.