Facial scans required for new mobile phone numbers


Mobile phone users in China will be required to submit facial recognition scans for identity verification purposes when applying for new phone numbers, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

The new rule, which went into effect Sunday, comes as mobile phone numbers are closely linked with user privacy accounts like e-banking and online shopping.

"The application of the technology in this sector can be a blow to potential lawbreakers," said Liu Dingding, an internet analyst.

Major domestic telecommunication carriers have already applied facial recognition technology, according to industry insiders.

"We have used facial recognition since 2018 to verify that an identity card (ID) matches the user," said one employee at a China Telecom branch on Sunday. 

The employee, who wished to remain anonymous, said many people were buying mobile phone numbers with fake IDs that allowed them to use telecom services for free while billing the actual ID holders.  

Although security concerns remain over the facial recognition technology, like potential data breaches, many users are comfortable with the facial scan procedure.

"I'm not too much concerned that my face is scanned, as the application of the technology is quite common now," said one woman while applying for a new phone card at a China Mobile store.

Addressing user concerns, Liu said that governments are very cautious when handling personal data management.

"The government is taking a strict stance on the application of the facial recognition technology and has rolled out many laws and regulations on data security in recent years," he said.

Source: http://www.globaltimes.cn

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