Local authorities in the city of Guangzhou began work on a project that will allow local residents to use the popular Chinese messenger WeChat instead of identity cards. Now residents of the city and its environs willy-nilly will have to learn new technologies and install the program on their smartphone, Sout China Morning Post reports.

The city government launched a pilot project, the essence of which is to create a virtual identity card, which can become an alternative to a regular identity card. Identification of the person will be carried out with the help of the program WeChat. In the first wave of testing, residents of the Nansha County will fall, later a pilot project will be distributed to all local residents.

The WeChat application is able to recognize the faces of users, allowing them to log in without the need to enter logins and passwords. This function is going to be used by the government as an alternative to ordinary passports. The face recognition system will exclude the possibility of falsifying documents and will allow citizens to quickly reserve hotel rooms and quickly access the services of state institutions, bypassing passport control with its long document checks.

The development of the pilot project involved the specialists of the company Tencent and the team of the research institute of the Ministry of State Security of China.

At the moment, the WeChat messenger has about a billion active users, so turning a normal program for everyday communication into a state identification system will cover most of the country’s population.

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