On Tuesday, China's cyberspace authority announced the publication of draft rules to monitor the security management of facial recognition technology in the country.
According to the China Cyberspace Administration (CAC), face recognition technology can only be used to process facial information when there is a particular purpose and sufficient necessity, as well as strict safeguards.
Biometric identification, particularly facial recognition, has become widespread in China, with applications ranging from garbage collection to toilet paper dispensers, raising public and regulatory concerns. It was stated that image-capturing devices should only be used for public safety objectives and should be accompanied by clear warning notices.
According to the South China Morning Post, many Chinese courts and local governments have ruled against and penalized corporations for excessive use of facial recognition technology in recent years. The draft standards are part of Beijing's push to tighten data regulation through the issuance of a slew of rules and laws.
The CAC stated in a statement that the usage of the technology will also necessitate individual consent. It also stated that in circumstances when both methods are equally effective, non-biometric identification solutions should be preferred over facial recognition. China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs even told CNBC that modern tech products and big data are used to “improve social management,” and dismissed the said report as “purely slander.”
The draft standards also coincide with Beijing's efforts to tighten data regulation through the issuance of a slew of rules and laws. Most significantly, in 2021, China passed its first privacy law, the Personal Information Protection Law, to reign in firms' excessive usage of user data.
The Cyberspace Administration of China recommended laws that airports, hotels, trains, banks, stadiums, exhibition halls, and other business enterprises should not employ facial recognition to verify human identity unless authorized by law. The draft is available for public feedback until September 7.
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