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Digital Identity, Security & Online Fraud

Chinese to link their ID cards to WeChat using facial recognition

Friday 29 December 2017 | 11:16 AM CET

Guangzhou, a large Chinese city, has started linking its residents` national identity cards to the social-media app WeChat using facial recognition.

Authorities in Guangzhou announced the pilot programme for the city’s Nansha district starting at the end of December 2017, and it will probably be rolled out nationwide in January 2018, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

The pilot is a joint project of the Nansha public security bureau, Tencent, China Construction Bank and nine other unnamed institutions. Tencent’s part in the ID programme will give it a different purpose and potentially new revenue streams, the online publication continues. China’s national ID cards are used for everything from hotel check-in, train ticket reservations, bank account opening and access to social welfare programmes.

Under the WeChat pilot, users can obtain a limited-function digital ID simply by scanning their faces with the WeChat app. To obtain the full-function version, they must visit an offline terminal in the city and scan their physical ID cards.

The limited version can be used for low-security functions such as registering at an internet café, while the full version can be used for most functions that require identification, including registering a business.

Similarly in 2016, Alibaba’s payments affiliate, Alipay, tested its own digital ID card system in Wuhan, capital of central China’s Hubei province.

More: Link
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