China's legislature has approved an online information rule to protect the privacy of internet users in the country. The country’s top legislature adopted the rules to increase the protection of personal information online and uphold the public interest. According to the new, rule internet users are required to identify themselves to service providers when signing web access agreement.
The decision was taken by lawmakers at the closing meeting of a five day session of the standing committee of National People’s congress. This rule has same legal effect as law.
Although the law has been approved in the China legislature, it is to be noted that the exact day and date of its implementation are not yet known. Xinhua noted that the draft will still be subjected to “further deliberation and revisions” from the members of the National People’s Congress standing committee.
The most probable way out will be the prerequisite, showing government-issued identification at the point of sale for Internet services, both fixed-line and wireless. The normal customer already provides photocopies of their identification while signing up for new cellular service or for Home internet. Internet cafes would feel the pressure, if rules force them to keep close track of their clientele. Dissenters will also be affected by the new restrictions as it will become more complicated for them to operate incognito online. The new law also comprises approval for the deletion of posts that are deemed illegal. To its recognition, the legislation requires network operators to preserve the privacy of account information collected during the process. Users would still be allowed to use pseudonyms online.
The government of China has often passed stern laws while letting a measure of clemency in practice. Sina Weibo, for the case, has evaded real-name requirements on its platform, while forewarning investors that the Chinese government could hold tightly down on it.
However, the adoption of a real-name registration obligation for all Internet users will to a great extent alarm privacy and free speech supporters. In recent weeks, the government has taken new actions to block circumvention tools like VPNs, that have allowed mainland-based Internet users to get around the state-erected firewall.
The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has disclosed that it seeks to restrain application stores and developers with new restrictions. Web video services were also called out by a government official earlier this year, when they were told that they would be held accountable for content uploaded to their websites