The increasing number of mobile users in China has lead to stricter regulations online. Now China asks for all citizens to use their real names as they surf the web and communicate via forums, social media platforms and so on. Their official goal is to improve the overall quality of the Internet.
China has been known to apply heavy surveillance and censorship on the citizens, with its Great Firewall (which is the Golden Shield Project). After the recent upgrade of its firewall that has resulted in trouble on behalf of VPN service providers, China takes control to a whole new level and becomes even stricter with surveillance. In avoidance of “vulgar culture” and other problematic aspects of the world, China demands that all the users of the web remain thoroughly truthful as to their ID. So, this means that every time a Chinese citizen wishes to get online and chat with friends on forums or socialize or express his beliefs via a blog, he will need to do that using his real name and all the personal information required.
The Cyberspace Administration of China brought these new regulations to light today and they become effective from March 1st of 2015 (which is actually in less than a month). As it is claimed by the Administration, the fake accounts have been leading to significant negative consequences so far and, to be more specific, they have: “polluted the Internet ecology, harmed the interests of the masses and seriously violated core socialist values.” These accusations are severe, as you can see. In the light of such consequences, China felt compelled to react and protect the interests of its citizens.
If you recall, the same regulations were enforced again in China back in 2012. This is when the Twitter-like platform of Weibo was used for shedding light to cases of corruption within the Government and its officials. The micro-blogging service was obliged to ask for the real names of its users, following the events that took place and exposed the officials of China. The regulations were applied to “ensure internet information security, safeguard the lawful rights and interests of citizens, legal entities or other organizations and safeguard national security and social public interests” Xinhua News Agency had reported back then.
The major concern of the Government in China is none other than the mobile users within the country. Based on the report from the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), in December 2014 there were 557 million mobile users in China and this is an astonishingly large number to contemplate. The increase over the statistics of the previous year was over 11% (11.3% to be exact). Controlling these Internet users seems like a really tough job and apparently bringing transparency everywhere on the web and allowing no room for anonymity might do the trick for China.
Top/Featured Image: By Eviatar Bach (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons