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New Mobile Phone Owners Set To Have Face Scanned By Retailers

Consumers who buy a mobile phone are set to have to register their face when they buy a new or second hand device.

The new regulations come into effect today in China a world leader in facial recognition as authorities seek to verify the identity of smartphone users.

The Chinese Communist Government claims that they want to “protect the legitimate rights and interest of citizens in cyberspace”.

China already uses facial recognition technology to survey its population.

Effective immediately users when signing up for new mobile at a carrier or retail store will be required to show their national identification card and have their photos taken.

Within seconds the scanned face will be verified as to whether it is a genuine match for the ID provided.

China has for years been trying to enforce rules to ensure that everyone using the internet does so under their “real-name” identities.

In 2017, for example. new rules required internet platforms to verify a user’s true identity before letting them post online content.

The new regulation for telecom operators was framed by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology as a way to “strengthen” this system and ensure that the government can identify all mobile phone users. Most Chinese internet users access the web via their phones.

According to the BBC Jeffrey Ding, a researcher on Chinese artificial intelligence at Oxford University, said that one of China’s motivations for getting rid of anonymous phone numbers and internet accounts was to boost cyber-security and reduce internet fraud.

But another likely motivation, he said, was to better track the population: “It’s connected to a very centralised push to try to keep tabs on everyone, or that’s at least the ambition.”

The aim is that by 2020, everyone in China will be enrolled in a vast national database that compiles fiscal and government information to give a “ranking” for each citizen. In September, the Chinese government said it planned to “curb and regulate” the use of facial recognition technology in schools after reports a university was trialling using it to monitor the attendance and behaviour of students, this practise is currently being trialled in Australia so that teachers know who is actually checked in for a day’s schooling.

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