China to introduce face scans for mobile users

People in China are now required to have their faces scanned when registering new mobile phone services, as the authorities seek to verify the identities of the country’s hundreds of millions of internet users.

The regulation, announced in September, was due to come into effect on Sunday.

The government says it wants to “protect the legitimate rights and interest of citizens in cyberspace”.

China already uses facial recognition technology to survey its population.

It is a world leader in such technologies, but their intensifying use across the country in recent years has sparked debate.

When signing up for new mobile or mobile data contracts, people are already required to show their national identification card (as required in many countries) and have their photos taken.But now, they will also have their faces scanned in order to verify that they are a genuine match for the ID provided.

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