This past Sunday, AFP reported that China moved forward with a plan to require telecom operators to collect face scans when they register new phone users at offline outlets according to a report from the country’s information technology ministry.
China’s move to carry out facial scans is part of its campaign to strengthen its cyberspace controls.
In September, China’s industry and information technology ministry released a notice on “safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of citizens online”, which set rules for enforcing real-name registration.
The notice recommended that telecom operators use “artificial intelligence and other technical means” to confirm people’s identities when they acquire a new phone number.
A China Unicom customer service representative told AFP that the December 1 “portrait matching” requirement would make customers registering for a new phone number have to record themselves blinking and turning their head in order to verify their identity.
“In next steps, our ministry will continue to…increase supervision and inspection…and strictly promote the management of real-name registration for phone users,” the September notice stated.
Since 2013, the Chinese government has advocated for real-name registration for phone users. In other words, ID cards would be linked to new phone numbers. Now, however, the Chinese government is pivoting towards AI as facial recognition gains popularity across China where the technology is used in a broad range of activities ranging from supermarket checkouts to surveillance.
Chinese social media users had a mixed reaction towards the December 1 facial verification notice. Many expressed concerns that their biometric data could be leaked or sold.
“This is a bit too much,” one user posted under an article about China’s new rules on the Twitter knock-off Weibo.
“Control, and then more control,” another user posted.
Although researchers are worried about the privacy risks that gathering facial recognition data entails, Chinese consumers have largely accepted the technology.
However, China witnessed one of its first lawsuits on facial recognition last month.
In early November, a Chinese professor sued a safari park in Hangzhou for mandating face scans before entering the venue, according to the local court.
Under the leadership of Xi Jinping, China has taken a more authoritarian turn that is reminiscent of the Maoist era.
With 21st century technology at their disposal, China is pushing the limits of hi-tech authoritarianism.
Such displays of government overreach could likely be exported to the West if U.S. companies and elected officials don’t take a stand against China and re-assert Western-style civil liberties.
Bloodthirsty Mexican Cartel Leaves Ominous Message for Border Patrol Agents in Texas
Border Patrol agents found a message from the Los Zetas Cartel at the end of June.
At the time, the agents were patrolling the area in response “to a large drug load crossing into the U.S.”, according to a report from Breitbart News.
The city in question, Rio Grande City, Texas, is located in Starr County which is on the border with Mexico. Breitbart News noted that this area is “under the control of the Gulf Cartel, due to the small cartel-controlled community of Camargo directly across the Rio Grande.”
Breitbart Texas has covered a turf war going down between Cartel Del Noreste (CDN)/Los Zetas and the Gulf Cartel over the last year. On June 9, 2020, a shooting kicked off between the two cartels near Comales, which is south of Rio Grande City and not too far away from it.
U.S. border agents were put on notice about cartel members attempting to escape into Texas at the time. Border agents discovered armored vehicles that demonstrated clear burn marks, likely the result of the use of explosives against them. Strangely, there were no bodies found near the scene.
The message that Los Zetas left behind on June 26 was intended to put border patrol on notice that this area was their new turf.
Mexico is clearly a failed state, with well-equipped cartels running around and making state security forces look foolish
U.S. needs to put emphasis on border security and restricting immigration if it wants to get a handle of this situation.
Too bad it’s focusing all of its time defending other countries’ borders.
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