If you want to have a new internet connection or a new telephone number in China, you have to have your face scanned from 1 December 2019. A similar regulation was issued by the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, as the online magazines, Gizmodo and Quartz first reported and should also apply to already registered connections.
In order to get an Internet connection or a telephone number, people in China will have to present their ID and confirm their identity by means of facial recognition. This is to ensure that users can only register connections under their real names. Also already registered connections are to be checked by the telephone and Internet providers. If false information has been provided, the contracts should be terminated. A transfer of telephone numbers prohibits the scheme. As a result, surveillance and control in China are widening further.
In China, facial recognition is widely used to identify people. However, changing a person’s face can cause massive problems. After plastic surgery, a Chinese woman was no longer registered by facial recognition on her work. Also checking in hotels and entering fast trains did not work anymore. Even online shopping became complicated because the payment app could no longer identify her with her face.
She should not be alone by far. A real-time facial recognition system in London in early July showed how problematic face recognition systems can be: in more than 80 percent of cases, the system was wrong. Even the test of a face recognition system on tolled New York bridges and tunnels failed.
In addition, the systems can be outsmarted. The security researcher Jan Krissler aka Starbug has already managed to avoid biometric identification procedures on several occasions. According to Starbug, after the hack of vein detection last year, there are hardly any biometric systems left that have not been bypassed. At the 31C3 in 2014, he had presented attacks on facial and iris recognition systems, the year before he was able to overcome within a few days Apple’s fingerprint system Touch ID of the iPhone 5S. However, the Federal Government plans to expand the video surveillance at stations and the use of face recognition and intelligent video surveillance.