Critics question Tencent 'Midnight Patrol' effectiveness, instrusiveness 

Occurred: July 2021

A facial recognition system designed to enforce a government curfew on gaming for minors in China prompted complaints about its effectiveness and accusations that it intruded on the privacy of families.

Tencent’s ‘Midnight Patrol’ was intended to stop children playing online games between 22:00 and 08:00 in line with a Chinese government national crackdown on video game addiction. Tencent is the largest maker and distributer of online video games in China.

The ban required gamers to register with their official IDs, linked to a national database. However, it transpired that children were using adults' IDs instead of their own to get around the law, bringing into question the system's effectiveness and value. 

In addition, the system, which is linked to China's central public security system, involved the mass collection of personal data, which could lead to security breaches. Critics also pointed out it could be used beyond its original purpose, including home surveillance, and could result in having psychological impacts on minors, who might feel overly monitored or restricted.

System 🤖

Documents 📃

Operator: Tencent
Developer: Tencent
Country: China
Sector: Technology
Purpose: Restrict gaming hours
Technology: Facial recognition
Issue: Effectiveness/value

Page info
Type: Issue
Published: July 2021