New Delhi, Dec. 3 -- China has introduced a new law that makes it mandatory for its citizens to undergo face scans while applying for new SIM cards or buying mobile phones. The policy was first announced in September, when the Chinese government, in an address to telecom operators, said that "artificial intelligence and other technical methods" were being deployed to "protect the legitimate rights and interest of citizens in cyberspace". The policy came into effect on Sunday, and observers expect the scope of Beijing's facial recognition programme to expand.

Are Chinese citizens nervous? Given their lack of democratic freedoms, they should be. Facial identification by scanners effectively lets the state keep tabs on people in all public ...