China introduces mandatory face scans for mobile phone users

Mobile phone users in China will now be required to have their faces scanned when registering new mobile phone services.

Mobile phone

It comes as Chinese lawmakers try to verify the identities of the country’s hundreds of millions of internet users, the BBC reports.

The move, announced in September is due to come into effect today as the government says it wants to "protect the legitimate rights and interest of citizens in cyberspace".

China already uses facial recognition as part of its mass surveillance on the population but issues surrounding privacy have made it controversial.

The reason for the new rules are to ensure that people using the internet are doing so under their real identities.

It follows a 2017 move which required internet platforms to verify a user’s true identity before allowing them to post online.

Because most Chinese internet users access the internet through their mobile phones, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology believes the latest regulations will “strengthen” the system.