China has stepped up its censorship on the Internet by requiring its citizens to pass a face recognition test in order to use Web services.
People who want to have the Internet installed at home or on their phones must have their faces scanned by the Chinese authority to prove their identities, according to a new regulation.
The rule, which will take effect on December 1, is considered part of the social credit system that ranks Chinese citizens based on their daily behavior.
At this time, a Chinese citizen will need to show his ID while requesting a landline or the Internet.
The face recognition test is set to verify that the identification card belongs to the applicant.
The directive was issued by China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology late last month.
The ministry said the move would help improve the country's Internet security and combat terrorism.
Chinese citizens are also prohibited from reselling their SIM cards by regulation to prevent unregistered users from making cell phone calls.
China has been building the world's largest facial recognition surveillance system.
The Big Brother-style scheme is powered by hundreds of millions of AI street cameras, aiming to identify any citizen of the country within three seconds.
The nation's population of 1,4 billion will be carefully watched by 626 million CCTV monitors - many with facial recognition functions - as early as next year, a recent study revealed.
This is a camera for every two people.
China's most researched city, Chongqing, is equipped with over 2,5 million street cameras, or one for every six people.
Critics, however, expressed concern about the system, claiming it is a way for the government to invade citizens' privacy and restrict their freedom.
Many also compared it to a dystopian system run by a fictional state leader, Big Brother, in George Orwell's novel '1984'.
Surveillance topic researcher Paul Bischoff previously told MailOnline: 'China is rapidly adopting CCTV surveillance as a means of monitoring movements of its large-scale population.
"CCTV in China is not just to prevent crime, but also to enforce social norms and behavior that the government approves."
China's watchdog network also supports the country's social credit system, which ranks its citizens based on their daily behavior.
When completed next year, the national system can determine how easily a citizen can rent an apartment, buy tickets, or pay for a cup of tea.
The system will help the country restore morality, according to the Chinese state newspaper Global Times.
The latest statistics show that China's social credit system prevented what it called “discredited entities” from making 2,56 million flights and 90 1,000 high-speed rail travel in July alone.
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