Following public worries about the usage of the technology, China’s cyberspace authority announced on Tuesday that it has published draft regulations to regulate the security management of facial recognition technology in the nation.
Facial recognition technology can only be used to process facial data when there is a defined goal, a sufficient need, and strict safety precautions, according to the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC).
The CAC stated in a statement that the usage of the technology will also require individual consent. It also stated that in situations when non-biometric identification options are equally successful as facial recognition, they should be preferred.
In China, facial recognition in particular has become very common for biometric identification. Local media revealed in 2020 that toilet roll dispensers in public restrooms were activated using facial recognition, which at the time raised both public and regulatory issues.
According to the South China Morning Post, numerous Chinese courts and local governments have now ruled against and penalised businesses for using facial recognition technology excessively.
In the CAC’s draft guidelines published on Tuesday, it was said that image-capturing and personal identification equipment shouldn’t be deployed in hotel rooms, public restrooms, locker rooms, toilets, or other locations that might invade the privacy of others.
The regulator also stated that image-capture equipment should only be deployed in public areas for public safety purposes, and they should be accompanied by clear warning warnings.
Beijing has released a number of rules and legislation in an effort to strengthen data regulation. The Personal Information Protection Law, China’s first law aimed at protecting user privacy, was passed in 2021 in an effort to stop businesses from abusing excessive amounts of user data.