Tencent uses facial recognition to enforce Chinese curfew on playing children • The Register


Chinese web giant Tencent has started using facial recognition technology to exclude children from its games.

As explained in a Publish At Chinese social media service qq.com, the new feature sees company accounts registered on behalf of adults if they play games between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m.

The company will then perform a facial recognition test and, if it identifies someone who is not the account holder, it will be started offline.

“Anyone who refuses or fails the facial verification will be treated as a minor,” according to a machine translation of Tencent’s QQ post.

China limits the time minors can spend playing to 90 minutes per day and imposes a 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. curfew on underage players – a policy driven by fears that the games are addictive and the desire to involve them. young people to more productive activities. lawsuits.

Tencent’s post doesn’t mention the curfew, but instead presents its technology as a way to ensure children get enough sleep. The company also suggested that this feature is only needed because some kids pinch their parents’ devices to keep playing until the early hours of the morning. Tencent also reminded customers that facial recognition is a feature it already uses for login and payments.

China has an uncomfortable relationship with games. The nation banned the sale and use of game consoles until 2014, controls what games can be published and sold within its borders, and does not allow any content, even remotely, that is risky. The review process for new games can often be very slow and the country’s gaming industry is therefore seen as stunted. It’s no accident that Beijing prefers its citizens to seek out other forms of entertainment.

And Tencent, which is the country’s leading video game company, is helping make that happen.

Kids who want to stay awake late have a tiny chance of escaping the ban: Tencent says its murky facial recognition code is 99.8% accurate, so one in 500 kids could slip through the net. he looks prematurely aged. Staying awake all night playing games can help with this. ®


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