Hotels in major Chinese cities suspend mandatory facial recognition

2024-04-25 09:06:27Global Times Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Multiple hotels across China have suspended mandatory facial recognition for guests who present a valid identity document when checking in, following Shanghai’s recent implementation of targeted regulations. 

A representative from a hotel based in the Chaoyang district, Beijing, told the Global Times on Wednesday that guests can just check in with their legal identity documents following verification, noting that facial recognition is no longer mandatory. 

Several hotels in Shanghai have displayed reminders, such as “strictly prohibiting mandatory facial recognition for consumers who already present valid identity documents,” China Media Group (CMG) reported on Wednesday. 

Mandatory facial recognition is also prohibited for guests who forget to bring their identity documents. 

Responsible authorities in Shanghai have recently announced that local hotels should suspend the use of mandatory facial recognition for guests who present legitimate identity documents when checking in. Standardized guidance has also been issued for hotels to follow, requiring hotels to seek approval before requesting facial verification of their guests. 

According to China’s Personal Information Protection Law, facial information is considered a biometric marker, which is sensitive information under national regulations. Sensitive information can only be processed and used under the conditions of special purpose and sufficient necessity with strict protective measures, said Fang Biyun, a lawyer based in Shenzhen, South China’s Guangdong Province.

Fang said that there is no provision in China's laws and administrative regulations or related provisions that require hotel guests to submit to facial recognition when checking in.

China has been ramping up efforts to protect consumers’ personal information and privacy. Business operators in China are prohibited from collecting excessive personal information while providing commodities and services through apps, according to a set of newly released regulations for implementing the law on the protection of consumer rights and interests, the Xinhua News Agency reported on April 9. 

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