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Alibaba’s Hometown Could Become First in China to Issue Facial Recognition Ban

By Matthew Walsh / Oct 30, 2020 11:26 AM / Politics & Law

A tech hub in eastern China could become the first place in the country to issue an explicit ban on facial recognition technology.

Hangzhou, a city of 10 million people that is home to e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., will consider a revised draft of municipal property management regulations that would make it illegal to demand that people submit to facial and other biometric scans when entering residential compounds.

The upcoming deliberations are a sign that widespread public angst in China about the potentially intrusive public use of facial recognition technologies is starting to inform government policy.

It comes after national legislators blasted a draft Personal Data Protection Law earlier this month for not clarifying how facial recognition should be used in public; what roles the government should play in controlling such technologies; and who is legally accountable for data leaks.

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