China: facial recognition, biometric scans introduced for WeChat transfers, SIM cards

Tuesday 3 December 2019 12:01 CET | News

Bloomberg has reported that China-based telecom carriers must check SIM card buyer identity with biometric facial recognition tech.

The decision was taken in September by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology  to reduce the number of fraud schemes and safeguard against terrorism attempts. As such, telecom companies need to make sure the SIM cards and mobile plans are purchased from legal sources and are not resold. 

The face-scan regulation is part of the Chinese government’s plan to facilitate population surveillance and reduce methods for staying anonymous online, Quartz suggests. As part of the initiative, when a person requests a new phone number, their photo is taken and matched to a government ID to keep track of the person’s activity. 

Moreover, part of China’s digital ID system initiated by the Ministry of Public Security, a peer-to-peer facial recognition app called Zhen Ni (The Real You) was launched. The country’s digital ID is integrated with online platform WeChat, in a bit to allow users to sync their national ID cards with the app and use their phones as IDs to buy train tickets or books hotels. Via this facial recognition app, communication is ensured to be legitimate and identity of both users is verified before money transfers are finalised.


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Keywords: China, facial recognition, WeChat, transfers, biometrics, SIM cards, identity, Telecom, surveillance, government, iD, security, digital ID, ID cards, money transfers
Categories: Fraud & Financial Crime
Countries: China
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Fraud & Financial Crime

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