Feeds

China turns the screws on netizens with real-name registration plans

Want internet access? Just sign here please…

Business security measures using SSL

Any hopes that the recent change in Communist Party leadership would signal a relaxing of online restrictions in China appear to have been dashed after state media revealed plans for the roll-out of real-name registration for all internet users.

The nation’s top policymakers on the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) have begun debating the draft decision, which would force China’s 530 million netizens to register with their ISPs, according to Xinhua.

"Such identity management could be conducted backstage, allowing users to use different names when publicising information," said Li Fei, deputy director of the NPC Standing Committee’s Commission for Legislative Affairs.

The proposals are being pushed forward ostensibly to make it easier for the authorities to weed out online fraudsters, spammers and the like, although they would obviously also make life more uncomfortable for whistleblowers and critics of the Party.

They also raise potential privacy concerns for China’s web users if registration data is not suitably protected by the relevant ISPs and network operators.

China, of course, has a dubious track record when it comes to the restriction of online freedoms. Government ID is required to use internet cafes and real-name registration rules are already in place for website owners, mobile and fixed-line phone users and, as of this year, microblogs such as Sina Weibo.

The latest proposals come as the country’s incoming leadership, headed up by newly appointed Party general secretary Xi Jingping, begin to stamp their mark on policy.

In the internet sphere there have been ominous signs of even tighter government control, with recent tweaks to the Great Firewall designed to disrupt leading VPN providers and news of forthcoming regulation of the mobile apps market. ®

Business security measures using SSL

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
ISPs' post-net-neutrality world is built on 'bribes' says Tim Berners-Lee
Father of the worldwide web is extremely peeved over pay-per-packet-type plans
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp
Mountain View distances itself from lame 'network thingy'
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.