Real-name registration required for China mobile users

A real name registration policy for mobile users in China was issued on September 1st, 2010, requiring people to show their national identification card and complete a registration form when purchasing a new SIM card to activate mobile services.
For millions of current users, the carriers should register their identification information within three years. It is said that more than 300 million mobile users in China of the three carriers, are unregistered users with prepaid SIM cards. Carriers will encourage them users to register their information by sending text messages. However, according to Xu Fei, China Telecomm spokesman, the regulation on current users is not being carried out forcefully, “if existing users do not register their names, their service probably will not be discontinued”.
In China, SIM cards are sold at various stands of the carriers, and also street newsstands, kiosks and grocery stores. The new policy places challenges for kiosk owners and carriers to collect and verify identification information, it is also difficult to ensure every kiosk owner abide by the new policy. Regarding such concerns, newsstands in Beijing received a notice to cease selling China and China Telecom SIM cards as of September 1.
According to XinhuaNews, the real name policy aims to protect the users privacy and prevent junk messages. In a study conducted by 12321.cn, China's Internet Spam Information Reporting and Resolution Center, in the first six months of 2010, users received an average number of 12 junk text messages each week and 74.54% users reported that they have received fraud messages. Fraud text message is pervasive in China, often making up stories so as to conceit message receivers to transfer a certain amount of money to a given bank account. A lot of people have suffered from such fraudulent. The government officials believe the real-name registration policy will decrease the number of such fraud. Mobile users also frequently receive advertising messages from real estate sellers, retailers, etc.
However, people still question if the new policy could decrease the number of mobile fraud, given three year is a long period allowing lawbreakers keeping anonymous when sending fraud messages.
For most mobile users, a more common and important concern is about their privacy. Some people are afraid that their personal information, private call records, could be abused or sold to unauthorized entities or commercials. China now has no privacy laws protecting user’s private data. It leaves the carriers a higher responsibility to manage such information properly.
Mobile real-name registration is not the first real-name requirement issued by China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, a month earlier, in August, online gamers was required to begin real-name registration under regulations that are meant to protect minors from Internet addiction and “unhealthy” content. However, “you can get people to register their information, but you can't confirm that the person sitting behind the computer is really that person,” said Cao Di, an analyst with iResearch. And according to Mark Natkin, managing director of Marbridge Consulting based in Beijing, ” The Internet gives people a lot of tools for them to work around official regulations”. An online gamer said there had been a lot of ways to work around, including use other’s people’s identification information, use “national identification number generator” and use game servers in U.S or other foreign regions.
In a speech in May, Chinese official first announced of the government enforcement to disable anonymity in popular news portals and business websites, taking steps toward an Internet real name system.

3 comments

  1. Anonymous

    The same procedure has already been in place for years in Pakistan implemented by the last government regime and it comes as no surprise to us. There was an interesting benefit that came out of this issue that when one buys a phone SIM from kiosk by sharing a photocopy of their identity, the same copy can be used to issue a number of illegal connections that can be used for illegal activities. This is in one way a pain as well as a blessing. The effects of this can only be understood in the longterm. Use of illegal SIMS have also been responsible for a number of terrorism activities reported from various countries of the world and this system also helps to curb that issue. Yes it creates a huge privacy issue but how would it be possible to convince the world that corporations aren't recording user information from websites like Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Myspace, etc…? How does that make it any different from them when the telecom service providers also record personal information like these corporations and provide that information to governments when they demand it? Its a double edged sword and I wouldn't recommend having a single side view over this issue!

  2. Anonymous

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