A real name registration policy for mobile users in China was issued on September 1st, 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.
The set-up photo shows sim cards from China’s major mobile service providers fanned out, with a Chinese ID card in the background. The picture is meant to illustrate China’s latest policy to require real-name registrations from all the cellphone users since September 1, 2015. [Photo: TechWeb.com.cn]
Chinese telecom operators will require real-name registrations from its cellphone users starting from September 1st, as reported by Xinhua News Agency on Friday.
Both new users who register their sim cards at retail stores and current users are required to verify their personal information at local telecom service offices.
Newspaper stands and phone retailers are also required to verify ID information when selling new sim cards.
Unverified accounts will be denied access to new service packages, account information checking, changing phone cards and can even become suspended.
For temporary accounts or accounts registered under certain company names, sim cards with incomplete or false user information will be considered as unverified.
So far, around 600,000 ID card readers have been installed at shops for China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom, according to statistics from TechWeb.com.cn.
The new policy is to enforce implementation of a regulation passed in 2013, which requires verifying users’ identification when accessing telecom services, including landline, cellphone, and broadband services.
The new move is also to crack down on unverified sim cards, known as “black cards”, which are widely used in fraudulent activities such as text message scams.
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