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Chinese lawmakers consider more facial recognition restrictions

Chinese lawmakers consider more facial recognition restrictions

The Revolutionary Committee of the Chinese Kuomintang will submit a proposal to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) calling for a crackdown on the illegal installation of facial recognition, video recording and data collection, reports Chinese State publication Global Times.

Though the group acknowledges that face biometrics play an important role in society, privacy threats and security vulnerabilities are being highlighted. Some Chinese cities have already restricted the collection of facial images and compulsory use of facial recognition by the private sector. A recent survey of Chinese consumers by Beijing News found that more than two-thirds of survey respondents said facial recognition should not be used for residential access control and more than half say they have been forced to use it in the past.

Biometric data collection has increased throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and submitting proposals via the CPPCC allows members to draw attention to prominent issues in China that may or may not be addressed by the government, according to The Diplomat. Last year proposals submitted to CPPCC included legalizing egg freezing for single women and more restrictions around animal cruelty laws, both of which were not ultimately enacted by government.

“The main functions of the CPPCC are to conduct political consultation, exercise democratic oversight and participate in the discussion and the handling of state affairs. Political consultation covers major principles and policies proposed by the central and local governments and matters of importance concerning political, economic, cultural and social affairs,” according to the body’s website.

It is not clear how soon the Revolutionary Committee’s facial recognition proposal could be approved or whether it has a strong chance of being enacted.

The Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress recently announced draft Data Security Law (DSL) and a Cyber Security Law (CSL), reports Lexology, which will address data collection and security measures ahead of China’s proposed Personal Information Protection Law due to be passed in 2021.

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