Facial recognition checks are now part of the standard procedure when registering for mobile phone services in China. As of December 1, 2019, the new advancement was incorporated in the telecom sector to verify new users identity and crack down on fraud.
China is one of the world leaders in artificial intelligence and particularly in facial recognition, which is already being used extensively in airports, supermarkets, and subways. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology is yet to announce which company will provide these services to the telecom companies.
Netizens took to social media platforms like Weibo to raise their concerns regarding further biometric data collection. Some argued that the move could be beneficial in curbing fraud while others were of an opposing opinion, stating the risk and implications of the policy change on privacy and personal data.
The AI technology, not without its fair share of concerns, has been successful in public security, financial services, transport and retail services across the country. A notable example would be the 300 million hack attempts that are mitigated by WeChat’s automated security apparatus, protecting its nearly billion dollars in transactions daily, according to a CNBC report.
Indeed, carriers including China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom have the task of implementing stringent facial recognition measures to protect their daily users and comply with data protection requirements in light of this new development.
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