China Now Requires Facial Scans of New Phone Customers

/ 4 years ago

Facial recognition technology is perhaps one of the most controversial aspects of identification. I mean, in theory, it’s a good idea. It is, after all, certainly a lot harder for someone to steal your face than it is your pin-code. Then again, as was proven recently, it’s not entirely impossible to find ways to work around it. Particularly if you’re willing to take a dead body to a bank. Well, either that or a 3D printed replica.

It does, however, get to particularly high levels of concern in countries such as China. Specifically when the government is increasingly using this technology to effectively monitor and police its population. In a report via Engadget, however, things have taken a rather alarming turn as a new law now requires anyone getting a new phone contract to submit to a facial recognition scan.

China Introduces Facial Scan Law for New Phone Customers

The law new will require anyone taking a new phone contract or data package to submit to a facial scan. While the government claims it has been introduced to reduce fraud, most people can read between the lines to know what this law is really intending to do. Yes, it is effectively another new means of monitoring the population. Particularly since they will now be able to put a face to the online activity.

We should note (for the sake of balance) that it has not been confirmed if the image will be deleted after the ‘legitimate’ purchase has been confirmed. Let’s be honest though, it’s almost certainly going to be kept and logged somewhere.

China does, of course, have a pretty strong history of attempting, wherever possible, to silence those who would attempt to break the status quo. Specifically, those who would speak out against the countries political practices. It’s a move that has even seen images of Winnie the Pooh being banned from social media in the country. Oh bother…

What Do We Think?

Facial recognition technology is a contentious subject at best. While it can clearly provide a lot of benefits, the biggest concern lies with it being misused. While it is understood that the new law in China is meeting with some opposition, the chances of it being scrapped (or at the very least toned down) seem, however, unlikely.

I have to admit though, I don’t think I’d feel comfortable about this.

What do you think? Do you think facial recognition technology is a good or bad idea? Would you have a problem submitting for a scan? – Let us know in the comments!

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