In a series of actions to restrict even the slightest of anti-government Internet access, Chinese government announced that the users will have to register with their real names and ID to use various services so as to keep an eye on users who challenge the government’s policies and actions.
The rule applies to all blogs. microblogs, IM (instant messaging) services and online discussion forums and almost all of the places where you can speak your mind. This is a strategy of the Chinese government to monitor even the smallest hint of resistance by the internet users.
To all of you who have even the slightest of idea about Chinese Internet censorship, we knew this was coming. Internet users in China have already been stopped from using any other sites but the domestic ones. This happened when the Chinese firewall was getting upgraded.
Domestic sites were told that they will have to hand over their codes to the government in a further announcement. If this wasn’t enough, now, they need to pin-point every single person who uses internet via any device.
The Cyberspace Administration of China was having problems because of the multiple usernames used by people to post things that were “polluting the internet community and violating socialist values”.
The Communist Party shut down dozens of social media accounts for offenses ranging from spreading pornography to distorting history so they can provide more “positive energy” on the internet.
The Chinese government had tried to enforce real name registration on social media earlier. The task of tracking users’ movements, their comments and posts fell on the social media companies and this is not something that companies prepare for. The companies had to bear the cost of tracking the users as well.
The new regulations are to be enforced from March 1. Users will have to provide their personal information to use a service. They will be allowed to choose a username and an avatar that pleases them, as long as they don’t involve banned content like ‘harms to national security’, ethnic discrimination and violence and rumours.
This announcement has come right after an alleged ban on Gmail via third party apps, an attack on Microsoft’s Outlook (man in the middle attack) and an upgrade to the great Chinese Firewall .
China’s internet population grew from 618 million to 649 million in the last year which made it more difficult for the Chinese government to track users’ movements. In another attempt to restrict people from voicing opinions, the WeChat messaging app was forced to delete 10 million registered accounts last year over allegations of fraud and promoting pornography.