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China tech

Even in China, ubiquitous facial recognition begins to stir unease

Chinese companies also seek to shape global standards, despite privacy fears

Major intersections in Shanghai are equipped with facial recognition technology to discourage jaywalking. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)

SHANGHAI -- From airport security lines and supermarket checkouts to street cameras that record jaywalkers, facial recognition has crept into almost every aspect of daily life in China.

The technology has gone largely unchallenged as the public accepted the trade-off between privacy and public safety or convenience. But a law implemented this week requiring new mobile phone users to register their faces has everyday citizens questioning whether the technology has gone too far.

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