New legislation in China requiring telecom operators to collect face scans of their new phone users came into effect on Sunday.
The regulation, which passed as legislation in September, will supposedly help “protect the legitimate rights and interests of citizens in cyberspace,” the country’s Ministry for Industry and Information Technology said.
The statement added that “artificial intelligence and other technical methods” should be employed to match the faces of customers buying new SIM cards with their identity documents.
“In the next steps, our ministry will continue to increase supervision and inspection and strictly promote the management of real-name registration for phone users,” they said at the time.
The policy is part of an effort by the communist regime to reduce people’s ability to stay anonymous on the internet and a broader push at stepping up the country’s mass surveillance program. Under the lapsing rules, customers applying for new phone numbers need to