Can China limit kids’ video game time? Risks with facial recognition

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Marietje Schaake, International Policy Director at Stanford's Cyber Policy Center, Eurasia Group senior advisor and former MEP, discusses trends in big tech, privacy protection and cyberspace:

China is to ban kids from playing video games for more than three hours a week. But why and how?

Well, controlling the time that kids spend online fits in a pattern of growing paternalism from a state that wants to control its population in every possible way. This time around, the gaming industry is made responsible for enforcing the time limits in China that foresee in a true diet of gaming; one hour per day on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. And of course, children are vulnerable. Protecting them from addictive and violent activities can be a very wise choice that parents want to make. There are also laws in a number of countries that limit advertisements that target children, for example. But whether the latest restrictions on gaming in China will work or instead will inspire a young generation to learn of clever circumvention remains to be seen.


With US agencies looking to expand the use of facial recognition tech, what are the security concerns?

Well, I see moral, legal, and operational concerns around the mass deployment of facial recognition systems. For one, they do not always work accurately and even if they do, privacy rights are at stake for all. But with false positives, innocent people end up being targets. And there's a real risk of mission creep. Black men specifically but other minorities more generally, end up being particularly vulnerable to the bias, misidentification, and abuse of facial recognition systems. So from the point of view of their safety, these systems should not be used.

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