China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) is very enthusiastic about real-name registration. The rest of the country is decidedly less so, and when MIIT introduced the real-name requirement for mobile phones in 2010, it’s thought that as many as 320 million users ducked the requirements. But MIIT has not given up on the concept, and a new draft law proposal released by the Ministry would, if enacted into law, require real name registration to set up any kind of phone line or mobile connection in China.
Specifically, this would mean that in addition to mobile users, anyone looking to buy a portable 3G card or dongle for their laptops, or get a hard phone line installed in their home or office, would need to present their telecom provider with a valid form of identification. That information would then be kept on file for use by (among other things) law enforcement. Users are often opposed to this kind of policy not only because it seems unnecessary but also because many of them don’t trust the telecommunications companies to protect their private data from hackers and spammers.
The proposed law is now in the “open for public comment” stage, after which it will be taken back behind closed doors and fiddled with by officials before being either enacted or abandoned, so there’s no need to start throwing your ID cards at your telecom providers just yet. But if MIIT gets its way, a year from now it could very well be that identification information will be legally required to set up any kind of phone line or mobile web service.
(via Sina Tech)