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  • Kyle Chua

China Regulates Use of Facial Recognition Technology

Updated: Dec 18, 2023

China is regulating the use of facial recognition in a bid to protect the privacy of its citizens.

Reuters
Credit: Reuters

According to China Global Television Network (CGTN), the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) has unveiled a set of draft rules on how to manage the use of facial recognition after growing concern among the public about it being overused.


The new rules state that the technology can only process facial information when there is a specific purpose and sufficient necessity, and can only operate under strict protective measures.


The CAC said that individuals must additionally consent before any facial recognition system can scan their faces. It added that non-biometric identification solutions should take precedence over facial recognition in cases where both methods are equally effective.


Biometric identification, especially facial recognition, has become commonplace in China, points out Reuters. For example, in 2020, it was reported that facial recognition was used to activate toilet roll dispensers in public toilets, sparking public and regulatory outcry.

Reuters
Credit: Reuters

The new rules also prohibit the installation of capturing and personal identification devices in hotel rooms, public bathrooms, changing rooms and toilets, among other places that can possibly infringe upon one's privacy. These devices should be installed in public places for only public safety purposes and must come with warning signs.


The CAC also stressed that organisations and institutions which operate facial recognition devices must ensure the confidentiality of any personal information they collect. In line with that, they must implement measures to prevent the leak and misuse of the collected information. They are also required to restrict the field of view of facial recognition devices installed for internal use.


The draft rules are part of the Chinese government's new effort to tighten data regulation through new legislation. Beijing in 2021 signed the Personal Information Protection Law, the first law centered around user privacy in China, to counteract tech companies' reliance and overuse of user data.


The CAC is presently soliciting public opinion on the draft rules.

 
  • China’s Internet Watchdog has unveiled a set of draft rules on how to manage the use of facial recognition after growing concern among the public about it being overused.

  • The new rules state that the technology can only process facial information when there is a specific purpose and sufficient necessity, and can only operate under strict protective measures.

  • The move is part of the Chinese government's new effort to tighten data regulation through new legislation.

  • Regulators are presently soliciting public opinion on the draft rules.





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