Iris recognition integration with Chinese national ID scheme proposed

Lawmakers in China have suggested that the country’s national identity system should be expanded to include iris recognition at the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC), the Global Times reports.

The motion was submitted by Zhao Qisan and 28 deputies from Central China’s Henan Province, and would see iris recognition technology integrated with social security cards, identity cards, and passports. It would begin with pilot projects in the education and public security sectors.

“Iris recognition should have pilot trials in certain provincial regions and sectors, such as public security, finance, social insurance, education and poverty relief,” Zhao wrote in the motion.

Zhao also noted the need for legislation to ensure the security of private information, including iris biometrics.
Professor Yao Yongling of the School of Public Administration of Renmin University of China in Beijing told the Global Times that penalties for those who cheat the social credit system would have to accompany the use of iris recognition.

Iris recognition is already used in Henan, Hebei, and Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, for uses including driver’s license tests, retiree certification, and demographic information collection. Human Rights Watch published a highly critical report about the program in Xinjiang, alleging that it was conducted without informed consent or meaningful choice.

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