Category : Technology
The Chinese authorities clearly do not intend to slow down their efforts to cover all aspects of their citizens' lives with surveillance systems. Signing a subscription contract with a mobile operator requires face scanning.
Chinese citizens can forget about their privacy for good, as early as 2017, 170 million CCTV cameras (closed circuit television) were installed in the country, and there will be 400 million by the end of the next year. What's more, the "social credit" system, which is a system for assessing citizens' behavior, which determines their social position, including aspects of life such as the possibility of having a dog or taking a loan, also comes into force. The authorities' goal is for every Chinese citizen to be in such a huge national database, where they will be assigned a specific rating.
One of the very important elements of the surveillance system is also the face recognition system, which is already functioning in some regions. Last year the media reported that with his help the police were able to catch the suspect from the crowd of 60,000 people present at the concert. There are also regions like Sinciang, where there live about a million Uyghurs and representatives of other national minorities, in which face recognition surveillance works on a daily basis and no one can hide it.
This technology is also slowly becoming an inseparable element of citizens' everyday life and is increasingly being used e.g. to pay for shopping in stores or identification at airports - where it raises additional concerns, because it is also used to check international travelers who have no idea, what later happens with their sensitive data. And now the Chinese authorities have gone even further and are trying to connect real citizens with their digital identities for good, therefore, from December 1, new provisions for signing contracts with mobile operators are in force.
Now customers must not only show their ID card, but also agree to face scanning to verify their identity. Theoretically, this is supposed to limit the amount of fraud, but in China nothing is ever so obvious. Of course, as always in such cases, the issue of citizens' privacy is raised, or rather the lack of it, but it can be expected that the reaction of the authorities will be as always. And they don't seem to explain the fact that collecting such a huge amount of data may cause additional danger, because in the event of a hacker attack a lot of people are at risk.