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Sorta Like Blizzard’s Real ID? China to Require Real Name Registration in Forums

July 8, 2010

I found this on the first page of WoW.com’s poll asking people if the current Real ID system is a good idea or not. It’s not 100% related to Blizzard’s Real ID system, but I found a couple of parallels in this article worth discussing, if anyone has further thoughts on the matter of privacy, accountability, and similar thoughts.

Otherwise, I’m just letting this stand as a late June post that got backed up in the intertubes or something like that.

China: Real-name registration required in online bulletins

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Last month, in a speech to China’s top legislature, Wang Chen, director of State Council Information Office of China, introduced that “we are also exploring an identity authentication system for users of online bulletin board systems”. Identity authentication, or real-name registration in China’s online environment has been discussed intensively in the past few years, however, Wang Chen’s speech is regarded as the first official announcement of the government enforcement to disable anonymity in popular news portals and business websites.

Officials believe that real-name registration could develop a better Internet culture where every Internet user has to be responsible for his/her online presence and inappropriate online behavior, such as Internet violence, will be decreased. However, as China’s traditional media is tightly controlled, for a lot of Chinese people, Internet is the easiest and might be the only way that they can turn for help when they have encountered social problems to publicize their grievance. Internet is also the place that most people feel free to criticize the government.

According to Hong Kong Takungpao, the State Council Information Office issued a notice in July 2009 “requiring all news websites to cancel their current follow-up message-posting function and implement a real-name registry system. Registrants would not only have to register their real names, but also their personal identification numbers and other information before posting on a news website. Only after confirmation of the identification could he or she send feedback or post information.” Currently, most news portals require Internet users to log in to post comments and identification information is required through their registration. However, fake information will be accepted.

No technical detail is now available regarding the real-name registration. In addition, Wang Chen is also advocating real-name registration system in mobile network and online shopping environment.

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