News

World

China Requires Citizens to Complete Facial Recognition Scans to Obtain Mobile Phone Service

Visitors are seen on a screen displaying facial recognition technology at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) Asia 2019 in Shanghai, China June 11, 2019. (Aly Song/Reuters)

China implemented a policy on Sunday that requires citizens to complete facial recognition scans in order to obtain new mobile phone services, further increasing the ability of the government to track its citizens.

The policy, which was announced in September, mandates facial recognition for new users of China’s telecommunications providers, including China Mobile Ltd., China Telecom Corp., and China Unicom. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said in its announcement of the policy that the move would prevent telephone fraud and illegal transfer of SIM cards.

“From the individual standpoint, it is a little scary because it feels like you don’t have a lot of privacy,” Ben Cavender, a managing director at China Market Research Group, told the Wall Street Journal. “There is a pervasive sense of someone knowing what you’re doing at all times.”

China’s widespread use of facial recognition software has come under scrutiny after numerous reports that the technology is being used to silence dissidents and carry out human rights abuses, particularly in the detention of Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region. Over one million inhabitants of the region have been imprisoned in reeducation camps where they are reportedly subjected to ideological indoctrination and torture.

Several U.S. companies have developed and profited from the sale of technology critical to surveillance infrastructure in China, including Intel Corp. and Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. The market for such technology in China reached $10.6 billion in 2018, with half of purchases coming from the government, according to the International Data Corporation.

Currently, Chinese citizens can board planes, enter certain buildings and pay for merchandise in stores by scanning their faces.

In October, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced sanctions on Chinese officials and companies involved in the repression of Muslim minorities in Xinjiang.

Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

Most Popular

White House

The Hole in the Impeachment Case

Thought experiment No. 1: Suppose Bob Mueller’s probe actually proves that Donald Trump is under Vladimir Putin’s thumb. Fill in the rest of the blanks with your favorite corruption fantasy: The Kremlin has video of the mogul-turned-president debauching himself in a Moscow hotel; the Kremlin has a bulging ... Read More
White House

The Hole in the Impeachment Case

Thought experiment No. 1: Suppose Bob Mueller’s probe actually proves that Donald Trump is under Vladimir Putin’s thumb. Fill in the rest of the blanks with your favorite corruption fantasy: The Kremlin has video of the mogul-turned-president debauching himself in a Moscow hotel; the Kremlin has a bulging ... Read More
Media

Martha McSally’s Blasphemy

As I note in my New York Post piece today, I don’t believe that Martha McSally, who is serving her first term in the Senate after being appointed to take John McCain’s seat, is going to be helped much by accusing CNN’s Manu Raju of being a “hack.” Attacking the press might be an effective way to excite ... Read More
Media

Martha McSally’s Blasphemy

As I note in my New York Post piece today, I don’t believe that Martha McSally, who is serving her first term in the Senate after being appointed to take John McCain’s seat, is going to be helped much by accusing CNN’s Manu Raju of being a “hack.” Attacking the press might be an effective way to excite ... Read More

People Make New Orleans

I had my first taste of southern hospitality the day I moved to New York. A young woman from New Orleans, whom I had met only briefly over Skype (she had advertised a room in the Bronx, though I preferred a room in Manhattan), had asked if anyone would be picking me up from the airport. No, I told her. I didn’t ... Read More

People Make New Orleans

I had my first taste of southern hospitality the day I moved to New York. A young woman from New Orleans, whom I had met only briefly over Skype (she had advertised a room in the Bronx, though I preferred a room in Manhattan), had asked if anyone would be picking me up from the airport. No, I told her. I didn’t ... Read More
Elections

Lying Liz

Ever since she began explaining how her Medicare for all plan would be funded, and how she would pass it, Elizabeth Warren has been sinking. Ahead of last week’s debate, her camp leaked a story that her friend Bernie Sanders met with her in 2018 to discuss plans for 2020, and that at this meeting, Sanders had ... Read More
Elections

Lying Liz

Ever since she began explaining how her Medicare for all plan would be funded, and how she would pass it, Elizabeth Warren has been sinking. Ahead of last week’s debate, her camp leaked a story that her friend Bernie Sanders met with her in 2018 to discuss plans for 2020, and that at this meeting, Sanders had ... Read More
Elections

Thanks for Nothing, New York Times

Imagine how self-important you’d have to be as an institution to decide that the public so craves your political advice and opinion that you need to air an hour-long program dedicated to sharing your painstaking deliberations over who ought to be the Democratic presidential nominee. Next, imagine you’re so ... Read More
Elections

Thanks for Nothing, New York Times

Imagine how self-important you’d have to be as an institution to decide that the public so craves your political advice and opinion that you need to air an hour-long program dedicated to sharing your painstaking deliberations over who ought to be the Democratic presidential nominee. Next, imagine you’re so ... Read More