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Challenge of data privacy has to be faced to promote governance

China Daily | Updated: 2024-04-25 07:16

A customer looks at the computer screen after scanning her face to pay at a self-service chain store in Nanjing, East China's Jiangsu province, Aug 28, 2017. [Photo/IC]

Relevant departments in Shanghai have reportedly prohibited hotels' "face scanning" verification of customers who have presented their valid identity documents.

Facial recognition technology is commonly used in not only the hotel industry but also other fields such as transportation, with the intention of improving security.

However, some are questioning whether the compulsory "face scanning" constitutes violations of people's privacy, as it involves the collection of tremendous sensitive personal biometric information.

Not to mention that many violations of privacy have been reported, and some of them are related to such industries as banking, transportation, logistics and information. The protection of personal data, including biometric data, is an issue that the government needs to address.

In the digital age, personal information seems to have public attributes. But fundamentally personal information belongs to the individual. How to determine the boundaries of personal information collection for public security purposes remains a question that needs to be answered.

The Personal Information Protection Law stipulates that "personal information processors may process sensitive personal information only when there is a specific purpose and sufficient necessity, and strict protective measures are taken".

It can be seen that the collection of personal information should also follow the principle of proportionality between means and purposes, and seek the greatest "common denominator" of governance between public security, commercial interests and individual rights and interests.

It should also be noted that there are no simple solution to such a complex problem, and a combination and balance must be found among the diverse interests and demands of all parties.

Shanghai's new rules for hotel check-in are not simply "one size fits all", but stipulate that if hotel guests do not bring their ID cards, they can still choose "face scanning" to verify their identity, or they can go to a police station for the issuance of relevant certificates.

That the previously compulsory "face scanning" was made optional in Shanghai for hotels in the city is a concession of the local government to people's right to privacy. That shows by innovating governance to make the public services more refined and precise the government can effectively improve the efficiency of social governance and ensure people's support for its policies.


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