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China: Real name registration for instant messenger

Real name registration has been hot topic for Chinese bloggers since most of BBS owned by major colleges were closed down or restricted access by government in March. People generally thought it was bloggers who should register themselves first if regualtions requiring every internet user’s real identity take effects. But such guesses prove to be wrong now.

Yesterday according to an announcement from QQ.com, largest Instant Messenger services provider with its primary product named QQ, it will required the administrator and creator of QQ group, a multi-users chat device based on the IM software, to give in their real personal information. Such rules were under the request from ShenZhen Administration of Public Security. Here is the authorizing document. The QQ group is more like a mini BBS and only users with a membership in that group can type their message to other users of the group.

Chinese Bloggers are reacting quickly to the event. WangYi, an IT journalist said the total amount of groups is too much to collect and calculate one by one and the workload must be unimaginable. He himself had 8 QQ accounts and he set up 4 groups for each account, so it would be a real headache for him to register them all.

DingYong has raised the legal question of such rules. He pointed out that although the QQ Company was located in ShenZhen but its user came from all over the country and requiring their information like ID card seems beyond the jurisdiction of ShenZhen government. It should be noted that the two above-mentioned bloggers are using their real name willingly.

The ultimate outcome of such rules is still unclear but we can foresee a more rigid control over internet implemented by Chinese government coming up. We will keep an eye on the event.

6 comments

  • I don’t know how the situation is in China for Jabber. Perhaps as an alternative, Chinese users could use the IRC-like “Groupchat/MUC” (Multi-User-Chat) functions of Jabber servers – where they can register without the need to give their real names and other personal data. And with the use of the anonymous tor network as a proxy in Jabber clients, they could connect and talk anonymous too. In addition, Jabber provides SSL encryption and some Jabber clients encryption per GnuPG or OTR.

  • KZ

    Raven,

    This is not a technical concern, nor a solution one. It’s rather on the control mentality. The authorities in China has learned to issue decrees regardless if they are sound or feasible, as long as they have made the point. After all, should anything bad happen or any “cleansing” movement is promoted, the decree issuers won’t bare the responsibilites. My guess is that QQ.com is just trying to protect its own ass!

    The QQ is one of the favorite IM tools amongest the younger generation to socialize in cyberspaces. Too often, you read from the local news media that people are engaging cyber-love activities through the QQ service. Searching through the BBS’s, you will find instruction or howto’s to find ONS partner through the QQ service, and that’s considered BAD by the authorities over there.

    There are many “free” services that require the user to submit a valid ID number or cell phone number before signing up. They can always find the real name based on the ID if they want. I guess this is no big deal in my opinion.

    In words, there is no point to get excited! It’s all just a show, a gesture at best, in my opinion.

  • […] Blogcn, one of China’s largest weblog hosting companies, is not requiring webloggers to register under their real name for the time being, said founder and chairman Hu Zhiguang in BusinessWeek. Recently, the Shenzhen-based chat service QQ, operated by the Tencent company, was under orders to register all its customers. […]

  • This blog posting is great. Your views are very true. Everyone should start thinking as you are doing.
    Andrea Jasperson
    http://www.nameregistrationcenter.com

  • Robb

    I came across the MOJI Intelligent Messenger featuring 3D artificial life forms..get this…WITHIN an instant messenger that combines AI and computational linguistics..what do you think about this? does it actually work? if virtual pets can “live” in an IM and understand what we are talking about what next man? is this the way of the future for tech 2.0?

  • Typical China. Government controls and watches everything in this place. Sad thing is not many Chinese know or care.

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