As of December 1, the Chinese state is forcing all of the country's 1,44 billion citizens to scan their faces before they are allowed to obtain mobile or Internet subscriptions. Facial recognition as a requirement for using the Internet is the latest in a one-party state's increasingly far-reaching efforts to keep track of its citizens. Combined with the world's most comprehensive camera surveillance, as well as new supercameras and advanced AI-based software, the Chinese Communist Party is fast approaching near total surveillance. The technology is now on its way to Europe, accelerated by alleged needs to maintain virus restrictions.
China’s 850 million Internet users, at least, must now use facial identification to sign up for Internet services or get a new mobile telephone number. The Chinese government announced in September that telecommunications companies must begin scanning users’ faces to verify their identities before they are allowed to sign new contracts. The new rule came into force on December 1 and is part of China’s extensive efforts to keep track of its citizens and monitor all their activities and behaviors. The new legislation will also prohibit the country’s residents from transferring their mobile numbers to other people.
The Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), the government agency responsible for regulating technology and the Internet, wrote that the decision was part of their measures to “protect citizens’ legitimate rights and interests in cyberspace” and prevent fraud.
Critics point out that the state’s alleged desire to “protect” and keep people “safe”, the words that have always been repeated this year behind virus restrictions, are just excuses to deceive the population into more surveillance and control.
China is the first country to require facial identification in order for its citizens to register for mobile and Internet services, but more countries are expected to follow. Many countries have already tightened the rules for registering mobile or Internet subscriptions, and the sale of anonymous prepaid cards has been banned in many countries. In Singapore, for example, many years’ imprisonment have been handed down for several years now to those who in any way make the anonymous use of SIM cards possible. This is regardless of whether any other crimes are committed.
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