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China introduces mandatory face scan for phone users

"In September, China's information technology ministry said telecom operators should use 'technical means' to verify phone users' identities"

As Beijing continues to tighten cyberspace controls. China will require telecom operators to collect face scans when registering new phone users at offline outlets starting Sunday, according to the country's information technology authority, 

In September, China's industry and information technology ministry issued a notice on "safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of citizens online which laid out rules for enforcing real-name registration.

The notice said telecom operators should use "artificial intelligence and other technical means" to verify people's identities when they take a new phone number.

While researchers have warned of the privacy risks associated with gathering facial recognition data, consumers have widely embraced the technology

Online, Chinese social media users reacted with a mix of support and worry over the December 1 facial verification notice, with some voicing concerns their biometric data could be leaked or sold.

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