China now requires face scans when buying new phones

Beijing [China], Dec 3: If you are planning on buying a new cell phone or cellular data contract, you will be required to agree for facial recognition as a proof of identity.

As Engadget notes, the new policy by the Chinese government came into effect on December 1, 2019. Anyone signing up for a new cell phone or cellular data contract is required to show their national ID card along with a face scan.

While it is meant to reduce fraud, the move is seen as controversial. It is not clear if the phone service providers will get rid of the face scans after the verification process or add them to the government’s existing surveillance programs to track and suppress ethnic minorities