China to Tighten Grip on Facial Recognition Technology: Shifts Focus Towards Non-Biometric Methods, says Cyberspace Administration


China’s Cyberspace Administration has announced plans to restrict businesses’ use of facial recognition technology, opting instead for non-biometric methods. The move comes as part of China’s efforts to strengthen control over the use of advanced surveillance technologies and protect citizens’ privacy rights. With this shift in focus, the Chinese government is aiming to strike a balance between technological advancements and safeguarding public interests.


China’s Growing Concerns over Facial Recognition

Facial recognition technology has become increasingly prevalent in various sectors, from commercial applications to law enforcement. While it has proven to be efficient in enhancing security and streamlining processes, concerns have risen surrounding its potential abuse and invasion of privacy. The Cyberspace Administration’s recent announcement indicates growing apprehensions in China regarding these issues and their commitment to addressing them.


Restricting the Use of Facial Recognition Technology

Under the new guidelines proposed by the Chinese Cyberspace Administration, businesses will face significant restrictions on the use of facial recognition technology. This move aims to reduce reliance on biometric data and promote alternative methods that are less intrusive. While the specific non-biometric methods have not been outlined, it is likely that technologies such as object recognition and QR codes will be encouraged in their place.


Safeguarding Privacy Rights and Ensuring Ethical Use

By introducing stringent regulations, the Chinese government hopes to ensure that facial recognition technology is utilized ethically and respect individuals’ privacy rights. The complete control of this technology falls in line with China’s broader framework for data protection and cybersecurity, which is prioritized in the country’s national policies and regulations.


Balancing Technological Advancements and Public Interests

China’s decision to limit the use of facial recognition technology emphasizes the government’s commitment to striking a balance between technological advancements and public interests. While acknowledging the usefulness of such technology, the focus on non-biometric alternatives demonstrates an understanding of the potential risks associated with excessive surveillance. The Chinese government aims to encourage innovation in non-intrusive technologies that can accomplish similar objectives without compromising individual privacy.


Implications for Businesses and Industries

Businesses that rely heavily on facial recognition technology will need to adapt their practices to comply with the upcoming restrictions. Although this may pose challenges, it also presents opportunities for innovation and the development of non-biometric solutions. Companies operating in China’s tech sector should closely monitor the evolving regulations and invest in research and development to align with the new policy direction.



China’s decision to tighten its grip on facial recognition technology and shift its focus towards non-biometric methods underlines the country’s commitment to protect privacy rights and restrain potential abuse of advanced surveillance technologies. By striking a balance between innovation and safeguarding public interests, China continues to shape its technological landscape in line with its national policies and regulatory frameworks.


Keywords: facial recognition technology


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