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5.28.20
About Face

Surprise Move: China to Curb Use of Facial Recognition in Schools

September 6th 19__Kristin Houser__Filed Under: Artificial Intelligence
Victor Tangermann

Strange Development

China plans to “curb and regulate” the use of facial recognition tech in its schools — a surprisingly pro-privacy move for a nation known for its invasive surveillance of citizens.

“We need to be very careful when it comes to students’ personal information,” Lei Chaozi, director of science and technology at China’s Ministry of Education, told Shanghai-based media outlet The Paper on Thursday. “Don’t collect it if it’s not necessary. And try to collect as little as possible if we have to.”

Pilot Project

China’s decision to rein in facial recognition tech comes just days after citizens railed against a pilot project at China Pharmaceutical University (CPU), which used a facial recognition system to monitor students’ attendance and behavior.

CPU’s project raises concerns about both data security and personal privacy, Lei Chaozi told The Paper, later noting that “the Ministry of Education has begun to pay attention to this matter and organize expert argumentation research.”

READ MORE: China to curb facial recognition and apps in schools [BBC News]

More on Chinese surveillance: Godfather of Deep Learning: China’s AI Tech Is “1984 Big Brother”