Telecom operators in China tightened the cyberspace controls by gathering face scans of new phone users who sign up at offline outlets starting December 8. China’s commerce and information technology ministry created rules and guidance last September to implement real-name registration. This is to establish “safeguarding legitimate rights and interests of citizens online” according to the said department. They also need to use “artificial intelligence and other technical means” as advised by the telecom operators to confirm people’s identification.

The Chinese social networking site Weibo was required to achieve the real-name registration last 2012. Researchers informed consumers about the possible dangers that facial recognition data have, but users still regularly use it. The Chinese government urges everyone to “promote healthy, orderly development of the Internet, protect state security and public interest.”