Saturday, August 30, 2014

Changbaishan Daily Deletes Report on Xi Jinping Anti-Corruption Speech

On August 4, 2014, the Changbaishan Daily (长白山日报) published an article on its front page entitled "Municipal Party Committee Convenes Expanded Standing Committee Meeting" (市委召开常委扩大会议).

These screenshots show that by August 7 the article, and indeed the entire front page, had been removed from the website.


Original URL: http://szb.cbsrb.com/shtml/cbsrb/20140804/

Some excerpts:
On the morning of August 1, municipal Party Secretary Li Wei chaired an expanded meeting of the Standing Committee to study and transmit the spirit of the speeches made by General Secretary Xi Jinping and other central government cadres during their inspection tour and the speech made by provincial secretary Wang Rulin during the expanded provincial Standing Committee meeting, and to deploy resources to carry out the spirit of those speeches in our city.
. . . .
The important speeches made by General Secretary Xi Jinping, Secretary Wang Qishan, and Minister Zhao Leji some important new ideas and signals, which were to emphasize that the Party must police itself, must be more strict in governing itself, and that wrongdoing must be opposed and greed must be restrained. Have zero tolerance when combating corruption, and carry out the struggle against corruption to the very end.
. . . .
Much of what was said was heavy and pointed, and left people shocked and on alert. Comrade Wang Rulin used the term "stress" six times during his speech, quoting important ideas from the speeches of Xi Jinping and other central Party cadres. He also issued three important demands that were "mandatory."
. . . .
Be steadfast in our position. Anti-corruption is a major political problem which concerns the life and death of the Party. Wang Qishan pointed out: "This is a problem of standpoint, attitude, affiliation, and focus. It also reflects an underlying  problem of determination with respect to the Party and the road of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
. . . .
Increase our commitment. Xi Jinping spoke resolutely that "When it comes to the struggle against corruption, I do not care if I live or die, receive praise or condemnation. Now that the future of the Party and the nation has been placed in our hands, we must be fully committed to our duty."
   
8月1日上午,市委书记李伟主持召开市委常委扩大会议,学习传达习近平总书记等中央领导同志关于巡视工作重要讲话精神和省委书记王儒林在省委常委扩大会议上的讲话精神,并就我市贯彻落实相关讲话精神作出部署。
. . . .
习近平总书记以及王岐山书记、赵乐际部长的重要讲话,传达出了一些新的重要精神和信号,就是强调党要管党、从严治党,有腐必反、有贪必肃,以零容忍态度惩治腐败,坚决把反腐败斗争进行到底。
. . . .
有些话讲得很重、很尖锐,令人震惊和警醒。王儒林同志在讲话中用了六个“强调”,引述了习近平等中央领导同志的重要讲话精神,并提出了三个“一定要”的重要要求。
. . . .
要坚定立场,反腐败是关系党生死存亡的重大政治问题。王岐山指出,“这是一个立场问题、态度问题、站队问题、定力问题,也反映了背后是对党、对中国特色社会主义道路的决心问题。”
. . . .
要强化担当,习近平总书记十分坚决地讲到“与腐败作斗争,个人生死,个人毁誉,无所谓。既然党和国家的前途命运交给了我们,就要担当起这个责任”。

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Around Time Zhou Yongkang's Investigation is Announced, Baidu Begins Censoring Name of Civil Rights Lawyer Pu Zhiqiang

On June 13, 2014, China’s state run television broadcaster reported that lawyer Pu Zhiqiang  (浦志强) had been arrested for illegally obtaining personal information (涉嫌寻衅滋事罪非法获取公民个人信息罪:浦志强被依法逮捕


On July 29, 2014, China’s official news agency Xinhua reported “The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) has decided to place Zhou Yongkang under investigation for suspected ‘serious disciplinary violation.’”

As noted previously on this blog, in February 2013, Sina Weibo repeatedly deleted posts making reference to Pu Zhiqiang publicly calling for a reckoning of the domestic security established under the administration of Zhou Yongkang (周永康).

These screenshots show that some time between July 5 and July 29, Baidu began censoring searches for Pu Zhiqiang’s name.


As the top screenshot belowshows, when a user searched on Baidu for “Pu Zhiqiang Blows the Whistle on Zhou Yongkang” (浦志强实名举报周永康)  on February 8, 2013, Baidu told them “Search results may not comply with relevant laws, regulations, and policies, and have not been displayed.” (抱歉,没有找到与“高智晟”相关的网页) The bottom screenshot, taken on July 29, 2014, shows that today Baidu tells users conducting the same search that it cannot locate any relevant web pages.


See also:

Saturday, August 23, 2014

On 110th Anniversary of Deng Xiaoping's Birth, Sina Weibo Censors "Deng Xiaoping Tanks"

The screenshots above were taken on August 22, 2014, and show that Sina Weibo did not censor searches for "Deng Xiaoping" (邓小平) or "Tanks" (坦克), but did censor searches for "Deng Xiaoping Tanks."  (邓小平 坦克)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Global Times: Gao Zhisheng's "Name Is Blocked On the Web." Meanwhile, Baidu Stops Showing Censorship Notice for Searches for "Gao Zhisheng"

On August 8, 2014, the state sponsored Global Times published an editorial under the name “Shan Renping” (单仁平) entitled “Human Rights Lawyers Not Above the Law” (in Chinese: “Why Is the West All Hot Over a Released ‘Rights Defense Lawyer’” (西方为何热捧获释的“维权律师”)). Some excerpts from the English version:
According to some foreign media reports, Gao Zhisheng, a lawyer who was put into prison three years ago on the charge of inciting subversion of State power, was released on Thursday. He made headlines in Western media very quickly, becoming another prominent Chinese dissident.
. . . .
Gao is not well-known among the Chinese public, and there is little information about him on the Chinese Internet.
The Chinese version of the editorial put the preceding sentence somewhat differently, stating “Because Gao Zhisheng is not well known in Chinese society and his name is blocked on the web, there is very little public information about him.” (由于高智晟在中国社会的知名度不大,他的名字在网上被屏蔽,可以找到有关他的公开材料很少。).

This screenshot was taken on August 15, 2014, and shows an article written by Gao published on the Ministry of Justice’s website in 2003 entitled “The Heavy Responsibility of a New Lawyer” (初为律师责任之重)


Most major Internet companies in China censor searches for Gao Zhisheng’s name. For example, here are screenshots showing search results from August 8, 2014:

Qihoo returns no results, and tells users “Search results may not comply with relevant laws, regulations, and policies, and have not been displayed” (搜索结果可能不符合相关法律法规和政策,未予显示。).


Sina and Tencent tell users of their Weibo microblogging platforms “In accordance with relevant laws, regulations, and policies, search results for ‘Gao Zhisheng have not been displayed” (根据相关法律法规和政策,“高智晟”搜索结果未予显示。 ) and “In accordance with relevant laws, regulations, and policies, search results have not been displayed” (根据相关法律法规和政策,搜索结果未予显示。), respectively.


Chinaso, a search engine established by a consortium of major PRC state run media outlets including the People’s Daily and Xinhua, returns six results from several major PRC state run media outlets, and informs users “In accordance with relevant laws, regulations, and policies, some search results have not been displayed” (根据相关法律法规和政策,部分搜索结果未予显示。).


Sogou returns over 50 results from websites licensed to operate in the PRC, and tells users “In accordance with relevant laws, regulations, and policies, some search results have not been displayed” (根据相关法律法规和政策,部分搜索结果未予显示。).


Baidu returns no search results, and tells users “Apologies, unable to find any relevant web pages” (抱歉,没有找到与“高智晟”相关的网页). This represents a change from Baidu’s prior policy of providing an explicit notice that no search results can be displayed because they may violate the law (as Qihoo continues to do).


This screenshot, also taken on August 8, shows that, while Baidu claims it is unable to find any search results for “Gao Zhisheng,” Bing is able to find several results on Baidu’s own web pages that contain Gao’s name.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

China’s Real Name Internet Part 5: 2013 - 2014

The propaganda campaign launched in late 2012 coincided with the release of new regulations requiring micro-blogging platforms such as Sina Weibo to impose real name registration requirements on their users. On December 19, 2012, China's official new agency Xinhua published a report entitled "Punish Online Criminals, Strengthen the Protection and Administration of the Internet in Accordance with the Law" (惩治网络违法犯罪 依法加强网络信息保护和管理). That report stated that on December 24 the National People's Congress Standing Committee would be considering a draft "Decision Regarding Strengthening Network Information Protection." (关于加强网络信息保护的决定)

On December 29, 2012, the People's Daily published an editorial on its front page entitled "Safeguard the Healthy and Orderly Operation of the Internet in Accordance with the Law" (依法保障网络健康有序运行).  The editorial stated that the National People's Congress Standing Committee had enacted the "Decision," which was effectively a law (Chinese and English versions of the Decision are available here - http://blog.feichangdao.com/2012/12/translation-decision-regarding.html)

Article 6 of the Decision read:
When entering into agreements or confirming the provision of services with users, network service providers who provide users network connection services, conduct network access procedures for fixed and mobile telephones, or who provide users with information issuing services shall require users to provide truthful identity information.
Over a year later, in March 2014, Sina would state in an F1 IPO filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission: “We are required to verify the identities of all of our users who post on Weibo, but have not been able to do so, and our noncompliance exposes us to potentially severe penalty by the Chinese government.” It went on to say:
Microblogging service providers are required to verify the identities of their users. In addition, microblogging service providers based in Beijing were required to verify the identities of all of their users by March 16, 2012, including existing users who post publicly on their websites [Relevant Regulation]. The user identity verification requirements have deterred new users from completing their registrations on Weibo, and a significant portion of the registrations in which user identity information was provided were rejected because they do not match the Chinese government database.
We have made significant efforts to comply with the user verification requirements. However, for reasons including existing user behaviors, the nature of the microblogging product and the lack of clarity on specific implementation procedures, we have not been able to verify the identities of all of the users who post content publicly on Weibo.
Sina's F1 is available here: https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1595761/000119312514100237/d652805df1.htm

In April 2013, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film, and Television issued the "Notification Regarding Strengthening the Management of the Online Activities of News Editorial Personnel" (关于加强新闻采编人员网络活动管理的通知).  That notice included the following provisions:

  • News editorial personnel shall insist upon a Marxist view of the news, and shall insist upon encouraging unified stability and positive propaganda as their primary orientation.  (新闻采编人员要坚持马克思主义新闻观,坚持团结稳定鼓劲、正面宣传为主的方针。)
  • No news agencies may utilize overseas media, overseas web sites, or news information products without authorization. (未经批准, 各类新闻单位均不得擅自使用境外媒体、境外网站的新闻信息产品。)
  • Any news agency that establishes an official micro-blog must register with its sponsoring government agency. (新闻单位设立官方微博,须向其主管单位备案。)
  • Information obtained through professional activities may not be disseminated without authorization. (未经批准不得发布通过职务活动获得的各种信息。)
  • News editorial personnel may not disseminate false information on the Internet, and may not publish on any domestic or overseas web site any news information obtained through their professional news gathering without their news agencies examination, verification, and approval. (新闻采编人员不得在网络上发布虚假信息,未经所在新闻机构审核同意不得将职务采访获得的新闻信息刊发在境内外网站上。)
On August 13, 2013, a Sichuan government web site publishes an article entitled "The Seven Bottom Lines That Every Internet User Should Observe" (七条底线,全体网民应该共守).  According to that article, well-known online personalities had gathered at CCTV's headquarters in Beijing on August 10 and reached an agreement that are seven bottom lines that they would observe:
  1. Laws and Regulations
  2. Socialist System
  3. National Interest
  4. Citizens' Legal Rights and Interests
  5. Social Order
  6. Moral Norms
  7. Factual Information
Although it was listed third, the article stated:
The National Interest is to be placed above all others, because without the nation we have nothing. That is the way of the physical world, and even more so in the online world. We must forge an online patriotic culture, with the soul of online culture resting on the national interest.
国家利益高于一切,没有国家就没有我们的一切,现实世界如此,网络世界更如此,我们应该打造网络爱国主义文化,国家利益至上应该是网络文化的灵魂。
Regarding the socialist system, the article said:
This is our fundamental institution, this is a bottom line we cannot neglect, whether in real life on the Internet, we eat and live socialism. We cannot undermine ourselves.
这是我们的基本制度,这个底线不能丢,无论是现实中,还是网络上,我们吃的是社会主义的饭,过的是社会主义的生活,我们不能自己给自己掘墓。
Regarding factual information, the article said:
Currently, fake news and false information is flooding the Internet, and this represents a failure to implement the bottom line of factual information. Every one of us Internet users has a responsibility to uphold the bottom line of truth, and to discriminate between true and false, and not fabricate or spread false information. Information in the virtual world cannot be fictional.
现在,一些假新闻、假信息充斥网络,这就是信息真实底线失落的表现,我们每个网民都有责任维护这个真实底线,应该辨别真假,不制作、不传播不真实信息,虚拟世界的信息不能虚拟。
On March 28, 2014, the General Office of the State Council (国务院办公厅) issued the “Notice Regarding Duty Assignments in Implementing the ‘State Council Program for Structural Reform and Functional Reassignment.’” (关于实施《国务院机构改革和职能转变方案》任务分工的通知)  Article 2(13) of which listed the following as a “Duty to be Completed in 2014”:
Issue and implement a real name registration system for information networks. (Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, State Internet Information Office, and the Ministry of Public Security to be jointly responsible. To be completed before the end of June 2014)
出台并实施信息网络实名登记制度。 (工业和信息化部、国家互联网信息办公室会同公安部负责。2014年6月底前完成)
On June 14, 2014, the State Council issued the Social Credibility System Construction Program (2014—2020)(社会信用体系建设规划纲要(2014—2020年)). The Program stated:
Building Credibility in the Internet Usage and Service Domain. Vigorously promote  building sincerity and honesty on the Internet, cultivate the idea of operating websites in accordance with the law, and using the Internet sincerely and honestly. Gradually implement a real name system for the Internet, improve Internet credibility and build legal safeguards, and vigorously promote the construction of Internet credibility oversight mechanisms. Establish Internet credibility evaluation systems, conduct evaluations of the credibility of companies engaged in the operation of Internet services and the online activities of personnel who go online, maintain credibility rankings. Establish Internet credibility files covering Internet enterprises and individuals who go online, actively promote the establishment of mechanisms for the exchange and sharing of credibility information between the Internet and social domains, and vigorously promote the widespread use of Internet credibility information in all aspects of society. Establish an Internet credibility blacklisting system, and add to the blacklist those enterprises and individuals whose Internet activities are seriously untrustworthy, such as engaging in Internet fraud, fabricating and spreading rumors, and infringing on the legal rights and interests of others. Restrict the online activities of individuals and ban enterprises from going online once they are placed on the blacklist, and notify relevant government agencies and conduct public exposes of them.
互联网应用及服务领域信用建设。大力推进网络诚信建设,培育依法办网、诚信用网理念,逐步落实网络实名制,完善网络信用建设的法律保障,大力推进网络信用监管机制建设。建立网络信用评价体系,对互联网企业的服务经营行为、上网人员的网上行为进行信用评估,记录信用等级。建立涵盖互联网企业、上网个人的网络信用档案,积极推进建立网络信用信息与社会其他领域相关信用信息的交换共享机制,大力推动网络信用信息在社会各领域推广应用。建立网络信用黑名单制度,将实施网络欺诈、造谣传谣、侵害他人合法权益等严重网络失信行为的企业、个人列入黑名单,对列入黑名单的主体采取网上行为限制、行业禁入等措施,通报相关部门并进行公开曝光。
On July 23, 2014, the Chinese government's website www.gov.cn invited Ping Zhongsheng (冯中圣), deputy director of the Finance Office of the National Development and Reform Commission to speak about the Program. In an article entitled Gradually Implement Internet Real Name Systems and Other Measures to Build Online Credibility (通过逐步落实网络实名制等措施加强网上诚信建设) the website quoted Ping as saying:
Not long ago, the NDRC and the State Internet Information Office convened a joint forum on building Internet credibility. During the meeting it was noted that it was necessary for major websites to set the example and lead the way, propagandize and guide, and provide proactive supervision, and to put forth effort in six areas to build website credibility: 
1. Establish web pages and web sites dedicated to credibility.
2. Explore establishing Internet credibility records.
3. Innovate and develop in the area of credibility evaluation.
4. Jointly implement methods to encourage complying with commitments.
5. Jointly implement methods of punishing failure to comply with commitments.
6. Actively promote the building of a culture of credibility.
The following month, on August 7, 2014, the State Internet Information Office issued the “Interim Rules on the Development and Administration of Instant Messaging Tools and Public Information Services” (即时通信工具公众信息服务发展管理暂行规定).  The Rules applied to anyone “employing instant messaging tools as public information services,” and included the following provisions:
  • Providers of instant messaging tool services must require their users to:
    • register using their actual identity information; and
    • enter into an agreement whereby they commit to abide by the "seven bottom lines.”
  • In addition, providers of instant messaging tool services must:
    • verify the identity of anyone applying to operate an account that allows them to post information to the general public (as opposed to a private group of designated users); and
    • register anyone they approve to operate public accounts with “a government agency responsible for Internet information content.”
  • Finally, the rules provide that only government licensed “Internet News Information Services” may use their public accounts to post or repost “news relating to current events or politics.” All other public accounts are prohibited from publishing or republishing current events and political news unless otherwise authorized.
According to the “Rules on the Administration of Internet News Services” (互联网新闻信息服务管理规定) issued jointly by the State Council and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology in 2005, “news relating to current events or politics” (时政类新闻) is defined as including "reports and commentaries related to political, economic, military and diplomatic affairs as well as breaking events" (有关政治、经济、军事、外交等社会公共事务的报道、评论,以及有关社会突发事件的报道、评论).

Saturday, August 16, 2014

China's Real Name Internet Part 4: State Media's Version of Global Internet Governance

One common theme in the People's Daily editorials was that, when it comes to Internet regulation, "everyone does it" - at least three front page editorials explicitly discussed Internet regulation in other countries. In addition, during this period, the People's Daily published a series of reports entitled "Every Country Oversees and Manages the Internet in Accordance with Law - A Comprehensive Analysis" (各国依法监管互联网面面观). Countries covered included:
Other than an obscure reference to an "indirect real name system" in Japan, however, the People's Daily's discussion of how other countries have addressed the concept of a real name Internet consisted solely of the following:

Canada
The fundamental value of the practice of "self-discipline" rests in promoting free expression and free flow of information on the Internet, and encouraging forms of dispute resolution with respect to controversial and assaulting online information. The idea of Canada implementing laws for online real name systems is to require the Internet industry to implement strict self-discipline.
“自我规制”实践的根本价值取向就在于保持和促进网络表达自由和信息的自由流动,推进对有争议和攻击性网络信息的纠纷解决机制的形成。加拿大实施网络实名制法律意在要求互联网行业实行严格自律。
Mexico
Besides this, many government officials, including Mexican President Nieto, have already initiated discussions with ordinary Internet users about real name accounts for social web sites, guiding the public to set up a civilized online atmosphere. Currently some Mexican Senators and academics are strongly suggesting that the government should start moving social web sites to a real name system.
此外,包括墨西哥总统涅托在内的许多政府高官已开始带头在社交网站开设实名账户,直接同普通网民进行沟通和交流,引导民众树立文明上网之风。眼下,墨西哥一些国会议员和学者还强烈建议政府应适时启动社交网络实名制。
United States
In fact, in the United States, widely known for "freedom of speech," there exists calls from the public to implement a real name Internet system. Nowadays more and more mainstream media web sites are requiring Internet users to register before they can leave comments. In 2010, the gaming web site "Blizzard" began requiring users to use their real names to post on their forum.
. . . .
In addition to pleas by the public, the American government is also considering a plan for "online ID." In early 2011, the Obama administration proposed establishing a digital identification verification system, enabling American Internet users to send emails, register on social web sites, and conduct online purchases without having to input their user names and passwords, reducing the incidence of online crime, and increasing people's security while online.
实际上,在以“言论自由”著称的美国,社会上同样存在着实行网络实名制的呼吁。如今,越来越多的主流媒体网站要求网友先注册,然后才能留言。2010年,游戏网站“暴雪”还要求用户使用真实姓名在论坛上发言。
. . . .
除了社会上的呼声,美国政府也在考虑推动“网络身份证”计划。2011年初,奥巴马政府提出了建立数码身份认证系统的设想,使今后美国网民收发电子邮件、登录社交网站和进行网络购物等活动时,可以不必输入用户名和密码,减少网络犯罪的发生,提高人们上网的安全性。
South Korea

In the past China's state-run media had turned to South Korea to build its argument that that China's Internet users should accept a real name Internet. For example, on August 13, 2009, the Guangming Daily published an editorial entitled "The Time is Ripe to Implement an Internet Real Name System" (实行网络实名制时机已经成熟). An excerpt:
Fang Binxing offered an example saying, in 2002 South Korea launched an Internet real name system in order to protect citizens' rights, reputations, and economic interests, and this allowed South Korea to become both one of the world's countries with the most thorough real name systems as well as one of the world's countries with the highest level of Internet security. More than that, the Internet real name system promoted the rapid development of South Korea's online banking and online commerce, and attracted a large amount of investment in online enterprises, further driving constant improvements in South Korea's online enterprises. Fang Binxing believes that this gives China excellent experience and an effective example of how to implement its own Internet real name system.
方滨兴举例说,韩国从2002年起推动实施网络实名制,以保护公民的隐私权、名誉权和经济权益,这使得韩国成为全球贯彻实名制最彻底的国家之一,也是网络安全程度最高的国家之一。不仅如此,网络实名制还促进了韩国网上银行、网络消费等的快速发展,吸引了大批资金进入网络产业,带动了韩国网络产业不断升级。方滨兴认为,这给中国实施网络实名制提供了很好的借鉴和有效的示范。
More recently, in December 2011, the Global Times published an editorial entitled "Weibo Regulations a Step on the Right Path." An excerpt:
The new regulations, in theory, are pertinent to solving weibo's urgent problems without harming its good effects. South Korea has already ordered real-name registration for the Internet.
 That same month, Xinhua also sought to reassure readers that this was "Common Practice":
China is not the only country to resort to real-name registration to monitor the Internet. The government of the Republic of Korea started to implement a real-name authentication system on its major websites in 2007 to prevent Internet violence, fraud or malicious information spreading.
In 2009, the system was expanded to cover all websites with daily visits of over 100,000.
But in the year after those editorials were written, the Constitutional Court of South Korea issued its decision in the application of Sohn et. al. unanimously holding that Korea's Internet real name systems were unconstitutional because "they infringe upon freedom of expression and autonomous control of personal data."

On August 24, 2012, the day after the South Korean court issued its decision, Xinhua and the China Daily published an editorial entitled "No Need to Be Overly Concerned About Korea Abolishing Its Real Name System" (不必对韩国取消实名制过分惊诧) by Wu Dingping (吴定平). That editorial stated that South Korea's system had been China's "reference model." It went on to say:
Why did Korea's love affair with its real name system come to an end? Fundamentally, there were no actual problems with the real name system, rather the main issue was that Korea had insufficient protections for personal privacy, and this led to significant pressure on, and resistance to, the real name system, and led ultimately to a fatal attack on it. Comparatively speaking, China has done a better job in this area.
韩国实名制为何“始乱终弃”、半途而废?本质而言不是实名制本身存在问题,而主要是缘于韩国在个人隐私保护方面做得不够到位,给实名制带来巨大的压力和阻力,最终产生致命性的打击。相比较而言,我国在这方面做得相对较好。
See: http://blog.feichangdao.com/2012/10/when-it-comes-to-real-name-registration.html

On January 2, 2013, Xinhua published an editorial under the name "Shi Yi" (石一). Baidu's Baike has an entry for someone with that name - the CEO of Avazu Inc. - but its not clear whether thas person was in fact the editorial's author. The editorial was entitled "Users Registering With True Identification Information is Not the Same as South Korea's Real Name System" (用户真实身份信息注册与韩国实名制并非一回事). Some excerpts:
In order to safeguard the security of personal information, the Decision requires: "When entering into agreements or confirming the provision of services with users, network service providers who provide users network connection services, conduct network access procedures for fixed and mobile telephones, or who provide users with information issuing services shall require users to provide truthful identity information." The purpose of this legislative provision is to safeguard users' online information from being disclosed, falsified, or misused. However, some Internet users have compared it with South Korea's "online real name system," and believe that China should take as a warning the fact that "South Korea's online real name system has already failed." This author believes that this mischaracterizes and misunderstands the Decision, and that China's user real ID information registration information system has some fundamental differences with South Korea's "online real name system."
为保护个人信息安全,《决定》要求“网络服务提供者为用户办理网站接入服务,办理固定电话、移动电话等入网手续,或者为用户提供信息发布服务,应当在与用户签订协议或者确认提供服务时,要求用户提供真实身份信息”。这一规定的立法目的是保护用户网络信息不被泄露、篡改和滥用。但是,也有一些网民将此与韩国“网络实名制”相联系,认为“韩国网络实名制已经失败”,中国应以此为鉴。笔者认为,这是对《决定》的误读和臆测,我国用户真实身份信息注册制度与韩国“网络实名制”有着本质区别。
The editorial went on to discuss three problems experienced by South Korea's systems, and how China will avoid them:
  • In South Korea web sites were allowed to retain user's information, but in China "When a user is asked by a web site to carry out identification verification, the web site will redirect to a page on the verification agency's web site. The personal information that the user submits will be verified on the Internet ID verification platform, and not through the registering web site."
  • In South Korea the verification agency was a commercial organization, and laws and policies were perfunctorily enforced. In China, "the Internet Society of China will establish a unified Internet real ID information verification platform . . . . the Internet Society of China is non-profit industry organization, and is under the responsibility of the MIIT, and is subject to more oversight and management."
  • In South Korea the verification agency charged fees, and this influenced web sites' "enthusiasm." In China, web sites will not be charged fees.
The editorial went on to say: "It was precisely because of these systemic design inadequacies that Internet users' private information security could not be effectively guaranteed, and this was the basic reason why South Korea's 'online real name system' failed."

The editorial made no mention of the South Korean Constitutional Court August decision regarding South Korea's real name system, or that the explicitly said it was NOT going to rule on the privacy issue. The Court's decision stated:
Applicant Sohn et al. further assert that the mandatory verification of user identity restricts bulletin board user’s right to privacy as it obliges the user to disclose the personal data such as name,resident’s registration number, etc. However, we have already explained that the mandatory verification of user identity restricts user’s right to autonomous control of personal data, which is a concrete manifestation of the right to privacy. As we shall decide whether the restriction of user’s right to autonomous control of personal data amounts to infringement, there is no need for us to rule upon the alleged infringement of the right to privacy.
Instead, the Court said that "the focal issues of this case are whether the restrictions imposed by the mandatory verification of user identity are disproportionate and excessive."

Ultimately, the South Korean Constitutional Court found as follows:
We find that the mandatory verification of user identity stipulated in the provisions under review operates as prior restriction of freedom of expression. It discourages expression in general and thus restrains constitutionally protected speech and it hampers free formation of public opinion which is at the heart of democracy. The provisions under review impose excessive restrictions and infringe upon freedom of expression and autonomous control of personal data of Applicant Sohn et al. and upon freedom of press, etc. of Applicant Company.
An English translation of the Korean Court's decision by Professor Keechang Kim, Korea University Law School is available here: http://openweb.or.kr/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Korean-Constitutional-Court-declares-real-name-verification-unconstitutional.pdf

Friday, August 15, 2014

China's Real Name Internet Part 3: The People's Daily's 10 Days of Front Page Editorials

By far the most prolific publisher of pro-real name regulation propaganda was the People's Daily. In the last two weeks of December that paper published at least ten editorials on its front page espousing the need for new Internet regulations:
  • December 18: "The Internet Is Not Beyond the Law" (网络不是法外之地)
  • December 20: "The Internet Needs to Operate in Accordance with the Law" (网络需要依法运行)
  • December 22: "Internet Development Needs to be 'Grabbed with Two Hands'" (网络发展需要"两手抓")
  • December 23: "There Can Be Health Only Where There is a Bottom Line." (有底线,才健康)
  • December 24: "Words and Deeds on the Internet Should Comply with the Law's Bottom Line" (网络言行应遵循法律底线)
  • December 25: "Further the Internet's 'Positive Forces' Through Rule by Law" (以法治涵养网络"正能量")
  • December 26: "Virtual Spaces Can't Get Away From 'Real World Rules'" (虚拟空间离不开"现实规则")
  • December 28: "Open Platforms Cannot Exist Without 'Legal Boundaries'" (开放平台不能没有"合法边界")
  • December 29: "Safeguard the Healthy and Orderly Operation of the Internet in Accordance with the Law" (依法保障网络健康有序运行)
  • December 30: "Only by Moving Safely Can We Move Freely" (安全流动,才能自由流动)

 

Similar Wording

The editorials were short (around 400 characters) and used similar, and in some cases identical, language. For example, four of these editorials used the term "border":
  • December 20
    • "Delineate the borders of behavior" (厘定行为边界)
  • December 24
    • "Words and actions have borders" (言行是有边界的)
    • "Rational borders of freedom" (自由的合理边界)
    • "Establish the borders of responsibility" (确立责任边界)
  • December 28
    • "Borders of legality" (合法边界 - used three times)
    • "Demarcate the borders of online words and actions" (划定网络言行的边界)
    • "Establish the borders" (确立边界)
  • January 10
    • "Social life has borders, and the Internet world has a bottom line" (社会生活有边界,网络世界有底线)
Other state-sponsored media outlets employed the "border" metaphor as well. A Global Times' January 9 editorial told readers that "every country's news reports have their own borders and forbidden zones (各国的新闻报道都有各自的边界和禁区), while a Guangming Daily's December 19 editorial used a phrase that would become the title of the People's Daily January 10 editorial: "Social life has borders, and the Internet world has a bottom line." (社会生活有边界,网络世界有底线)

In another example of employing the exact same phrasing, three of the People's Daily editorials (December 18, 20, and 30) and one Guangming Daily editorial (December 19) used the Chinese idiom for "public security and good morals." (公序良俗)

 

Real Name Editorials?

 

Each of the editorials had a different author, but because the People's Daily did not provide any description of the authors' affiliations or qualifications, it was difficult, if not impossible, to determine the author's actual identity. For example, the December 18 editorial was authored by someone named Mo Lvlv (莫津津). The People's Daily has been publishing editorials on a variety of topics with that byline since at least 2005, when it published an editorial on page 10  of the June 7 edition entitled "Hangzhou: Objections Arise to Social Security, to Be Settled in a Hearing" (杭州:低保有异议 听证来定夺). In that editorial the People's Daily referred to Mo as "Yunnan, Kunming, Mo Lvlv" (云南昆明市 莫津津).

On August 30 (服刑先学《弟子规》) and November 9, 2007 (浙江绍兴县 跑车巡警,半月叫停), the People's Daily web site included articles with quotes from a "Yunnan, Kunming, Mo Lvlv" (云南昆明市 莫津津) as well as a "Hunan, Huaihua, Mo Lvlv" (湖南怀化市 莫津津).

In 2010 and 2011, the People's Daily was referring to Mo simply as "Internet user Mo Lvlv" (网友莫津津) in the editorials in which they quoted him (or her):
The People's Daily's December 20 editorial was entitled: "The Internet Needs to Operate in Accordance with the Law" (网络需要依法运行). This was the first in the series to raise privacy issues. The author was Kong Fangbin (孔方斌), and there is no indication that anyone with this name had ever published anything else, anywhere else. Some excerpts:
This is the state of the Internet. Even as there is positive, active, and healthy information flows, there is also rumor mongering, fraud, and defamation mixed in. If we take a laissez-faire attitude it will threaten public security, harm the interests of the average citizen, and bring with it severe social harm.
. . . .
The Internet needs not only "self-cleansing," but also a system for third-party discipline, demarkation of the borders of behavior, and increased oversight in accordance with the law. It is necessary to keep irresponsible rumor mongering in check, keep personal information from being disclosed, and prevent and attack digital crimes from pornography to fraud.
In 1977, America enacted legislation on computer systems, Japan has implemented an indirect real name system, and Germany blocks illegal web page content . . . for the Internet to progress, the law must move forward as well. 
这就是互联网的常态。在正面、积极、健康的信息洪流中,也有谣言、欺诈、诽谤等等混杂其间,对其听之任之,势必威胁公众安全,损害老百姓利益,带来严重的社会危害。
. . . .
网络不仅需要“自我净化”,也需要他律机制,厘定行为边界,依法加以监管。管住不负责任的谣言,管住个人信息的泄露,防止和打击从色情到诈骗的数字化犯罪,是很有必要的。
美国1977年就为计算机系统立法,日本实行网络间接实名制,德国屏蔽不合法网页内容……互联网要向前发展,法律必须如影随形地跟进。
On December 22, the People's Daily front page editorial was entitled "Internet Development Needs to be 'Grabbed with Two Hands'" (网络发展需要'两手抓'). The author was Yu Yang (于洋). Baidu's Baike has an entry for a woman by that name who is an Olympic badminton gold medalist.  Some excerpts from the editorial:
Over the last 20 years China's Internet has gone from weak to flourishing, and much of this is owing to the passion, creativity, and participation of Internet users. However, as something that grew spontaneously, the spread of the Internet has some peculiarities that are not easy to ignore, such as the fact that many Internet users only browse information that they themselves need, only pay attention to views that they agree with, and information screening can easily produce extreme public reaction, as well as irrational discussion and uncivilized behavior.
20多年来,中国互联网从弱小到兴盛,网民们的热情、创意和参与功不可没。但是,在自发状态下,网络传播呈现出的一些特点也不容忽视,比如很多网民只浏览自己需要的信息,只关注自己认同的观点,信息的过滤很容易产生群体观点的极端化,也容易产生不理性的讨论和不文明的行为。
The next editorial was published on December 23 and entitled "There Can Be Health Only Where There is a Bottom Line." (有底线,才健康) Some excerpts:
Being open does not mean people can behave unscrupulously. Being free is not the same thing as running around cursing people, and sharing information does not mean arbitrarily disclosing other people's private affairs and spreading rumors everywhere. Unless there is basic rational judgment, social order, and legal restraints, this kind of of Internet will only sink into chaos and will find itself at a fork in the road, where it cannot develop in a healthy manner, much less become the vital new frontier that Internet users hope for.
Long ago foreign countries made the Internet into an "information superhighway." When driving on a highway legal restrictions and driver's ethical instincts are both required. For the Internet superhighway to be orderly and safe, it similarly needs both ethical self-discipline and legal regulation.  
开放性并不意味着可以恣意妄为,自由表达并不等于四处骂街,信息共享更不是随意泄露别人隐私、到处散播谣言。没有基本的理性判断、社会秩序和法治约束,这样的网络只会陷入混乱、走上歧途,不可能健康发展,更不是网民心中那片充满生机活力的新天地。
很早以前,国外就把互联网比作“信息高速公路”。在高速公路上驱车,法律约束和驾驶员的道德自觉缺一不可,网络信息高速公路的有序安全,同样需要道德自律和法律规范。
The author of this piece, Jian Mandu (简满屯), had previously authored or been quoted in at least four other People's Daily editorials, and was only identified as "a reader":
The next day, December 24, the People's Daily front page once again included a similarly-titled editorial: "Words and Deeds on the Internet Should Comply with the Law's Bottom Line" (网络言行应遵循法律底线). The name of the author of that piece, Guo Sheng (郭胜), is somewhat common (including a police officer in Chongqing and a historical figure from the Han Dynasty), so its impossible to determine who the author really is. Some excerpts:
If someone defames and insults others in the name of "freedom," and harm others commercial credibility or their product's reputation, then this is in fact illegal, even criminal. If someone clings to "justice" as an excuse to claim the ends justifies the means, even to the point of "lying to obscure the truth," this is similarly irresponsible.
During last year's riots in England, Premier Cameron once exclaimed: "Free flow of information can be used for good, but it can also be used for bad." The Internet has given us greater freedom, and has also given us greater responsibility. Only by establishing the boundaries of responsibility, stipulating the standards of what is "lawful" and was is "unlawful," will we be able to better enjoy freedom and protect rights, only then will we better promote progress for the nation and society. 
如果以“自由”之名诽谤、侮辱他人,损害别人的商业信誉、商品声誉,这实质上是违法甚至犯罪;如果持着“正义”的理由,只问目的不择手段,甚至搞所谓“谎言倒逼真相”,这同样是不负责任。
去年英国骚乱后,首相卡梅伦曾感慨:“信息自由流通可以用来做好事,但同样可以用来干坏事。” 网络给予了我们更多自由,也给予了我们更大责任。确立责任边界,厘定“法”与“非法”的标准,我们才能更好地享受自由、保护权利,才能更好地推动国家与社会的进步。
The December 25 front page editorial was entitled "Further the Internet's 'Positive Forces' Through Rule by Law" (以法治涵养网络"正能量"). The author, Wang Zhaolei (王兆雷), appears to be a reporter with the People's Daily. Some excerpts:
In modern society, the ultimate purpose of any law is to safeguard citizens' rights, freedoms, and dignity. In this sense, legislation should not be viewed narrowly as "controlling," nor should Internet legislation be viewed as being in opposition to Internet development.
. . . .
Strengthening Internet legislation will not only put fear into the hearts of online criminals, it will also provide a legal basis for safeguarding the rights and intersts of Internet users, and channel Internet administration onto the path of the legal system. 
在现代社会,任何法律的最终目的,都是为了保护公民的权利、自由与尊严。在这个意义上,不应将立法狭隘地理解为某种“管控”,更不应将网络立法与网络发展对立起来。
. . . .
加强网络立法,不仅是对网络违法犯罪的震慑,更为网民维护自身权益提供了法律基础,将网络管理纳入了法制轨道。
The December 27 front page editorial was entitled: "Virtual Spaces Can't Get Away From 'Real World Rules'" (虚拟空间离不开"现实规则"). Some excerpts:
In recent years, the pornographic, fraudulent, rumor mongering, defamatory, and paid commentary content that has frequently appeared on the Internet has not only disturbed online order, it has also interfered with people's offline lives. Establishing and perfecting "real world rules" for the virtual spaces that will promote online civility, heath, and development has become a consensus and an aspiration.
As early as 1996, America clearly determined that the Internet world was "in need of oversight to the same degree as the real world." In Germany, it is impossible to open content promoting Nazi ideology online. In England, the police require Internet cafes to retain knowledge of online activities. The experience of these countries that have a developed Internet should give us inspiration. When it comes to public realms like the Internet, the earlier rules are set up the more mature the development. The sooner we are able to promote the good and abolish the bad, the more we can keep "negative effects" in check, the more we can set free "proper energies." 
这些年,网络平台上不时出现的淫秽色情、网络诈骗、造谣诽谤、网络水军,不仅扰乱了网络秩序,也对人们的现实生活形成了干扰。建立和完善虚拟空间的“现实规则”,推动网络文明健康发展成为共识和心声。
早在1996年,美国就明确将互联网世界定性为“与真实世界一样需要进行监控”的领域。在德国,宣扬纳粹思想的内容在互联网上无法打开。英国警察要求网吧保留对上网者行为的知情权。这些互联网发达国家的经验给我们以启示。在网络这一公共领域中,规则建立越早、发展越成熟,我们就越能兴利除弊、越能抑制“负效应”,释放“正能量”。
The author, Jiang Liuyi (江柳依), had also published at least four other editorials in the People's Daily in 2012:
The following day, December 28, the People's Daily front page editorial entitled "Open Platforms Cannot Exist Without 'Legal Boundaries'" (开放平台不能没有"合法边界"),was authored by Ren Fang (任芳), which is also the name of a People's Daily reporter. Some excerpts:
The good is often buried beneath the bad, with private information being disclosed, rumor mongering and defamation, and infringing and fraudulent actions taking place all the time. In the first half of this year alone China has dealt with 13,900 phishing web sites.
The more open something is, the more it needs to have clearly delineated rules that are commonly obeyed, and borders for Internet speech and action that clearly demarcated. In fact, the history of Internet development is one of constant "border drawing."
这其中往往泥沙俱下,隐私泄露,谣言诽谤,侵权和诈骗活动时有发生。仅今年上半年,我国就处理钓鱼网站1.39万个。 
越是开放,就越需要确立共同遵守的规则、划定网络言行的边界。实际上,互联网发展的历史,就是不断“确立边界”的历史。
The next day, December 29, the People's Daily published a much longer editorial on its front page entitled "Safeguard the Healthy and Orderly Operation of the Internet in Accordance with the Law" (依法保障网络健康有序运行), and this time the editorial was attributed to  "a columnist." Some excerpts:
On December 28, the 30th Meeting of the 11th Plenum of the National People's Congress Standing Committee enacted the Decision Regarding Strengthening Network Information Protection, conforming to the trends of Internet development, the popular will, and the wishes of the people.
. . . .
All circles of society have been vociferous in their call to formulate relevant laws to regulate the collection and utilization of citizen's personal information, stringently punish illegal criminal online activities, safeguard the legal rights and interests of Internet users, and ensure the normal, healthy, and orderly operation of the Internet. The decision of the National People's Congress Standing Committee to strengthen protection of online information comports with the hopes and wishes of people, is an important measure for adapting to the circumstances, and is a concrete manifestation of safeguarding human rights in accordance with the law. It is both very necessary and very timely. 
12月28日,十一届全国人大常委会第三十次会议表决通过了关于加强网络信息保护的决定,顺应了互联网的发展趋势,合乎民意,顺乎民心。
. . . .
社会各界强烈呼吁尽快制定相关法律,规范收集、使用公民个人信息的活动,严厉惩处网络违法犯罪行为,维护网络用户的合法权益,保障网络规范、健康、有序运行。这次全国人大常委会通过关于加强网络信息保护的决定,符合广大人民群众的期盼和愿望,是适应形势发展需要的重要举措,是依法保障人权的具体体现,非常必要和及时。
On December 30, the People's Daily front page editorial was entitled "Only by Moving Safely Can We Move Freely" (安全流动,才能自由流动). The author's name was given as De Sheng (德胜) - the Chinese characters for "morality" and "victory." Some excerpts:
It can be seen that there can be no discussion of "freedom" without security. The flood of illegal harmful information will certainly harm citizens' legal rights and interests, jeopardize online public order and morality, and harm the public interest. In order to fully release the bounty of information flows, it is necessary to eliminate the hidden dangers to information security, and this has already become the common consensus of all circles of society, and the appeals for legislation on information security are growing louder day by day. 
可见,没有安全,“自由”也就无从谈起。非法有害信息的泛滥,势必伤害公民的合法权益、破坏网络的公序良俗、损害社会的公共利益。为了充分释放信息流动的红利,就必须消除信息安全的隐患,这已成为社会各界的基本共识,信息安全立法的呼吁之声也日益强烈。
On January 10, 2013, the People's Daily published an editorial entitled "Internet Expression Also Needs to be Lawful" (网络表达同样应正当合法) by Mao Lei (毛磊 - which is also the name of a People's Daily reporter). This was the first People's Daily editorial in the cycle to mention the Decision's "real name registration" requirement. Some excerpts:
Expression on Internet platforms can produce two-sided results, besides legal expression, there are also people who may use the Internet to undertake insults, defamation, fraud, pornography, and other illegal activities.
Strengthening Internet management will realize the "unification of rights and duties." On the one hand it will safeguard citizens' freedom of speech and right to expression. On the other hand it will require citizens to take responsibility for the content of their expression. The fundamental utility of Internet back-end real name registration lies in increasing the costs associated with spreading rumors by putting a sense of fear into those who would spread rumors. If rumors are allowed to spread, then in fact it is freedom of speech that is the ultimate victim.
Social life has boundaries, and the Internet has a bottom line. Everyone knows that "freedom" is relative, and in the online world as in the real world, there is not absolute freedom. 
在网络平台上的表达,可能产生两面性,即除了合法表达外,还有人可能利用网络进行侮辱、诽谤、诈骗、色情等非法活动。
加强网络管理,体现了“权利义务相统一”。一方面要保护公民的言论自由表达权利,另一方面要求公民对自己表达的内容负责。网络后台实名的根本作用在于,让造谣传谣的成本变得高昂,震慑企图造谣传谣的人。如果任谣言传播,恰恰最后受伤害的就是言论自由。
社会生活有边界,网络世界有底线。众所周知,“自由”是相对的,网络世界与现实社会一样,并不存在绝对自由。

Monday, August 11, 2014

China's Real Name Internet Part 2: The Great Propaganda Push of December 2012


On December 19, 2012, Xinhua published a report entitled "Punish Online Criminal Lawbreakers, Strengthen the Protection and Administration of the Internet in  Accordance with the Law" (惩治网络违法犯罪 依法加强网络信息保护和管理). That report stated that on December 24 the National People's Congress Standing Committee would be considering a draft "Decision Regarding Strengthening Network Information Protection." (关于加强网络信息保护的决定)

The day before Xinhua's report, the People's Daily had already published an editorial on its front page entitled "The Internet is not Beyond the Law" (网络不是法外之地). Some excerpts:
"Its the most spectacular and also the raucous . . . ." many people would agree with this description of the Internet. As a completely new platform, the Internet has brought people social intercourse, information services, opinion exchanges, and tremendous convenience. At the same time it has also brought much that is disturbing - commercial fraud, malicious attacks, rumor mongering, etc.
. . . .
As China develops it needs to have a civilized, lawful, and healthy Internet environment, and whether it is overseeing agencies or Internet users, everyone should cherish this platform. It is unrealistic to expect everyone to use the correct words to say the correct things. But there also needs to be a sense of rule of law and of responsibility for what one says. Whether online or offline, this is the foundation upon which public order and popular welfare are built. 
“是最精彩的,也是最嘈杂的……”这样形容互联网,是不少人的同感。互联网作为一个崭新的平台,给人们带来社交互动、信息服务、观点交流等极大便利,同时也给人带来许多困扰,商业欺诈、恶意攻击、造谣传谣,等等。
. . . .
开放的中国需要文明法治健康的网络世界,不管是监管部门还是广大网民,都应该珍惜这个平台。要求人人都用正确的方式说正确的话,是不现实的,但也应有法治意识,对自己的言行负责,这是必须的。因为不管是网上还是网下,这都是构建公序良俗的基础。
During the week preceding the enactment of the Decision, most of China's major state-run media outlets followed the People's Daily lead and published editorials that made essentially the same point: The Internet has a lot of pornography, rumor mongering, defamation, false information, and disclosure of private information, and needs more regulation.

For example, on December 19, the Guangming Daily published an editorial entitled "We Need to Establish Legal Bottom Lines for the Internet World" (要为网络世界设定法治底线). Some excerpts:
Social life has boundaries, and the Internet has a bottom line. The virtual Internet cannot skip over a system of rules for public order and good morality. It isn't that complicated: The Internet is basically a tool for people's lives and livelihood, and online activities are an extension of social life, and should not and cannot become a kingdom of "everything is freedom, no restrictions needed." In fact, regulating online life through laws will safeguard Internet users' interests, and is really a prerequisite for Internet self-governance. After all, the Internet has never been "a land beyond the law."
As far as China is concerned, there is an extremely urgent need to strengthen Internet management in accordance with the law. During the 2012 Guangdong Internet Conference held last week, Zhang Feng, the head of the MIIT's Communication Development Office said that, as of the third quarter of this year, China already had 550 million Internet users. The other side of this was that the state of Internet security was not encouraging, with false information, unlawful infringements, and similar activities taking place all the time. The right to personal privacy cannot be effectively protected, and Internet users were vulnerable to assault at any time. Users were becoming increasingly confused, and an Internet with rules but no "effective defenses" was becoming a difficult problem facing public administration. 
社会生活有边界,网络世界有底线。虚拟的互联网,不能跳脱公序良俗的规制。这个道理并不复杂:网络本就是人类生活、生产的工具,网络活动本身即是社会生活的投射,不应也不能成为一个“只要自由、不要约束”的王国。以法律规范网络生活,既是对网民权益的保护,更是网络自治的前提。毕竟,网络从来就不是“法外之地”。
对中国而言,以法治加强互联网监管,已是迫在眉睫。在上周末举办的2012广东互联网大会上,工信部通信发展司司长张峰透露,截至今年第三季度,我国互联网用户已达5.5亿人。与此相对应的是,网络安全形势不容乐观,虚假信息、非法入侵等行为时有发生,个人隐私权得不到有效保护,网民随时都可能“躺着中枪”。用户日益庞杂,规则却“不设防”的网络,已经成为公共管理面临的难题。
The following day, December 20, the Guangming Daily published another editorial, this time  entitled "High Level Legislation is Needed to Manage the Internet" (互联网管理亟须高等级立法). Some excerpts:
You accidentally open a web page and suddenly find you've been lead to a pornographic web site. Your computer is attacked by hackers and your personal photos are exposed. You find yourself subjected to a "vigilante search" by Internet users and you get severely harassed . . . It seems like these kinds of things are happening around us every day.
Currently, China's Internet development is facing a grim situation. On the one hand, even though there are a relatively large number of laws and regulations relating to Internet information security, and there are some laws and regulations addressing personal information in important industries such as finance and medicine, nevertheless the level of legislation is not high, and the provisions of relevant regulations are too dispersed, with limited focus and utility, and Internet criminals are getting off scott-free. On the other hand, more and more criminals are eyeing the Internet. Today's Internet is no longer merely a virtual space, it is tightly linked to the real world. 
无意中打开一个网页,竟然被引向色情网站;电脑受到黑客攻击,个人照片被随意曝光;莫名遭到网友的“人肉”搜索,生活受到严重干扰……这样的事情几乎每天都在我们身边发生。
目前,我国互联网发展正面临严峻的形势。一方面,虽然涉及互联网信息安全的法律法规很多,在金融、医疗等重要行业也有部分针对个人信息保护的法律法规,但立法等级都不高,相关规定的条款过于分散交叉,针对性和操作性不强,网络违法犯罪分子轻易地逍遥法外。另一方面,越来越多的违法犯罪分子盯上了互联网。今天的互联网早已不是虚拟空间,它与现实世界的联系非常紧密。
On December 21, the Global Times published Chinese and English language editorials: "Freedom Not at Odds with Online Regulation" and "Strengthened Internet Management is What the People Want" (加强互联网管理是得人心的). Some excerpts:
Good things should exist forever. An unspoken assumption is that negative elements should be identified and constrained. The Internet is a typical example. It has changed the world, including the lives of Chinese people. We treasure its merits and will maintain its positive impacts on society's development. However, due to the complicated nature of exposure on the Internet, we must strengthen regulations over it.
. . . .
People would be concerned if any strict regulations devalued it. Therefore, while other countries have legislated to regulate the Internet, China has still been thinking about it. China's legislation on the Internet and actual management over it have been moderate so far.
. . . .
Problems caused by the Internet have been accumulating. It advocates individual freedom, but at the same time severely damages it. The exposure of private data as well as illegal online activity have destroyed the positive environment of this new medium. Opposition against Internet regulations has been fierce. Western voices claim that China's Internet management is suppressing freedom of expression. Both put pressure on this job. Opinions on the Internet are always radical and Western views are highly politicized.
. . . .
It is time to regulate the Internet. Such a view is actually embraced not only by the authorities but also by the public who fear that their privacy may be intruded upon. This regulation will not affect netizens' activities on the Internet but only provide more security. People who feel constrained by it are those who create waves online or even use the Internet illegally. 
Similarly, the China Daily published an English language editorial by "Cao Yin" on December 24 entitled "Call for Law to Protect Netizens." Some excerpts:
Experts said legislation is the best way to protect residents' private information on the Internet and provide a safer online environment.
. . . .
Ding Junjie, a professor at the Communication University of China in Beijing, said such problems are inevitable with the development of the Internet, but their negative effects should not be underestimated. He suggested upgrading current regulations and guidelines on Internet information into a law, to better protect online users' privacy.
"Although we have some regulations on cyber security and a few Internet companies also have their own guidelines to prevent information leaks, it's far from enough," he said, adding that current regulations are "fragile" and people with malicious intent can easily break them.
"To deter those who intend to make illegal money by selling others' privacy, strong legislation seems to be the most effective solution."

Friday, August 8, 2014

China's Real Name Internet Part 1: Ancient History - 2003 to Early 2012

A "real name registration" requirement for users of Internet services has been discussed in China for many years. Here is how a 2005 Xinhua report summed it up:
Discussion about a "real name system" also took place on the Internet at the end of the 1990's, but at that time it did not have much impact. What really had an impact and triggered controversy was a 2003 proposal by Tsinghua University professor Li Xiguang that the National People's Congress ban online anonymity and impose an Internet real name system. That affair was reported in the media and spread on the Internet, and gave rise to controversy. Although there was no lack of supporting opinions, it seemed that opposition voices were even stronger. Afterwards the media said that the "final word" was that Li Xiguang had raised the white flag because "a ban on online anonymity was extremely impractical, both from a legal and a technical perspective." With that it seemed this stage in the controversy drew to a close. 
But even with this temporary reprieve in the "Internet real name system" controversy, it nevertheless found expression in an even more practical operation. 
One year later, the "Internet real name system" was officially written into the Ministry of Eduction's "Opinion Regarding Further Strengthening Internet Management Work in Post-Secondary Schools": "BBSes on college campus networks  are platforms for information exchange amongst university Internet users, and shall strictly implement real name user registration system. In order to strengthen regulation and management of campus network BBSes, discover and delete all types of harmful information in a timely manner. Those who fail to effectively guard against harmful information will have a limited time to undertake rectification and reform, and those who allow harmful information to spread or who lose control over management shall be shut down in accordance with the law." Afterwards, Tsinghua University's Shuimu Qinghua BBS became the Ministry of Education's model for transforming university BBSes into real name system intra-university exchange platforms. After that, all college BBSes, including Beijing University's No-Name, Nanjing University's Little Lily, and Fudan University's Sun Moon Brilliance began to operate as real name systems. 
上世纪90年代末期,网络上也曾出现过有关“实名制”的言论,但当时并未产生多大影响。真正引发影响并产生广泛争议的是在2003年,清华大学教授李希光建议人大禁止网上匿名,推行网络实名制。此事经报道并在网络上传播后,争议顿起,其间不乏支持意见,但反对之声似乎更隆。后来有媒体称:最终李希光以“禁止网上匿名是非常不现实的,在法律上和技术上都行不通”为“结束语”挂起了免战牌,此事的争议似乎告一段落。 
然而,“网络实名制”的争议暂时结束了,但却在更实际的操作上得到了落实。 
一年后,教育部《关于进一步加强高等学校校园网络管理工作的意见》中,“网络实名制”被正式写进了文件:“高校校园网BBS是校内网络用户信息交流的平台,要严格实行用户实名注册制度。要加强对校园网BBS的规范和管理,及时发现和删除各类有害信息。对有害信息防范不力的要限期整改,对有害信息蔓延、管理失控的要依法予以关闭。”随后,清华大学水木清华BBS被教育部树立为高校BBS向实名制校内交流平台转变的典型。随后,北京大学未名、南京大学小百合、复旦大学日月光华等高校BBS都开始按照实名制进行操作。

Shenzhen Public Security Takes a Shot at Real Name Registration

In July 2005, the Shenzhen Public Security Bureau issued a "Notice Regarding Launching Rectification and Purification of Public Information Service Venues" (关于开展网络公共信息服务场所清理整治工作的通知). The Notice said that as a result of illegal activities on chat rooms, forums, and Tencent's QQ groups such as "illegal associations and contacts," law enforcement authorities would be launching a three month, three stage program to "rectify and purify" these "public information service venues." The second stage would extend from July 16 through August 25, and would consist of the following:
Every enterprise shall organize sufficient employee resources and, using human and technical means, shall undertake purification of existing Public Information Service Venues, and based on the circumstances, shall either shut them down or undertake re-registration. All purification and rectification work shall be completed by August 25, and before September 1 a purification and rectification status report shall be provided to our offices.
1. All Public Information Service Venues shall be resolutely shut down that have any names, introductions, or notices that include harmful information clearly prohibited by law or that are suspected of being criminal or that are incompatible with the demands of building a civilization based on the socialist spirit. Enterprises shall also assist our office in investigating the status of relevant personnel.
2. Public Information Service Venues that are suspected of operating in the name of unauthorized social group shall suspend services and be required to provide proof within 20 days that their social group has been registered. Those that fail to provide effective proof by the deadline shall be shut down.
3. All other Public Information Service Venues shall register using their real names within sixty days, and those that fail to register by the deadline shall be shut down. 
各单位要组织足够人员力量,采取人工与技术相结合的方式对现有网络公共信息服务场所进行清查,并视情况予以重新登记或者关闭。所有清查整顿工作于8月25日之前完成,并于9月1日前将有关清查整顿工作情况报送我分局。
1、对于名称、简介、公告中含有法律明文规定的不良信息、涉嫌违法犯罪或与社会主义精神文明建设要求不协调信息的网络公共信息服务场所,坚决予以关闭,并协助我分局调查有关人员情况。
2、对涉嫌以未经批准的社团名义活动的网络公共信息服务场所,予以暂停服务,并要求其在30日内提供社团注册登记证明。对到期未提供有效证明的予以关闭。
3、对其他类别的网络公共信息服务场所要求在60日内进行实名登记,到期未登记的予以关闭。
The third stage would extend from September 1 through September 30, and included a requirement that venues implement a real name registration system for all newly-established Public Information Service Venues (落实新建网络公共信息服务场所实名登记制度). Specifically, venues were required to:
1. Inform all users applying for a Public Information Service Venue of the information service venue's terms of service.
2. Mandate the implementation of real name registration for anyone applying for a Public Information Service Venue. Require applicants to fill in a form with their actual personal identification information, and verify the identification number.
3. Prohibit users with overseas IPs from establishing Public Information Service Venues.
(1)向申请网络公共信息服务场所的用户,公告公共信息服务场所服务协议。
(2)申请网络公共信息服务场所必须进行实名登记。要求申请者必须填写真实的个人证明资料,同时对身份证号码进行校验;
(3)境外IP用户不允许创建网络公共信息服务场所。 

Hangzhou Takes a Shot at Real Name Registration

On April 9, 2009, The Standing Committee of the Hangzhou People's Congress enacted the Hangzhou Computer Information Network Security Protection Administration Provisions (杭州市计算机信息网络安全保护管理条例) requiring Internet users to use their real names when posting information online. Article 19 of the provisions provided:
Internet Information Providers shall establish and implement the following security safeguard systems and security safeguard technical measures: (3) Providers of electronic bulletin boards, Internet games, and other real time communication services must have the capability to examine and verify users' registration information and the information published by users, and must require users who registers for the aforementioned services to provide their official personal identification. 
互联网信息服务提供者应当建立并落实以下安全保护制度和安全保护技术措施:(三)提供电子公告、网络游戏和其他即时通信服务的,具有用户注册信息和发布信息审核功能,并如实登记向其申请开设上述服务的用户的有效身份证明
The provisions were supposed to go into effect on May 1. On May 4 the China Daily published an editorial entitled "Web of Restrictions" saying:
Last week Hangzhou municipal government adopted regulations, which require Internet portals under its administration to ask for the real identity of Internet users who register to blog or post opinions online starting from Saturday. This has aroused strong opposition from Internet users. 
What most of them worry about is not just the inconvenience such an stipulation will bring about but the scenario that real name registration will make it possible for the relevant government department to know who has said what online about government decisions and leaders.
. . . .
Whatever the motivation for such a stipulation, the requirement to reveal real identity will undoubtedly prevent a number of users from expressing their opinions online for fear of being persecuted. This will substantially reduce the freedom Internet users enjoy in cyber space to express themselves on whatever issues they have an interest in. 
When we have no effective measures in place to protect Internet users from being persecuted for airing their views online, it is unfair to require them to reveal their real names for doing so. 
When the creation of a safer cyber space is most needed for Internet users to enjoy their freedom of expression, such a stipulation is clearly anachronistic.
A May 19 Xinhua report entitled "Why is Implementing a 'Real Name Internet System' So Hard? An Investigation Into Hangzhou's Implementation of the 'Internet Security Protection Provisions'" ("网络实名制"为何难?-杭州实施"网络安保条例"调查) made it clear that the provision had not been implemented:
Many website forum customer service employees told this reporter that the websites they worked for were not yet requiring users to provide valid personal identification. One forum customer service employee at Zhejiang Online said that he feared that real implementation would have to wait for a specific notice from the relevant agency. 
多个当地网站论坛客服人员告诉记者,目前他们所在的网站还没有要求注册用户必须提供有效身份证明。浙江在线的论坛客服人员称,真的实行恐怕要等待有关部门的具体通知。

Ministries Responsible for Regulating Education, Internet, Online Publishing, and Online Video Establish Online Content Poster Tracking Databases

In 2004, the General Office of the Chinese Communist Party (中共中央办公厅) and the General Office of the State Council (国务院办公厅) jointly issued the "Opinion on Further Strengthening Internet Administration Work." (关于进一步加强互联网管理工作的意见 中办发[2004]32号). That document is not publicly available, but it is referenced in several government documents that use similar language to mandate IP address tracking for the Internet services under their respective jurisdictions:

Ministry of Education

In the last quarter of 2004, the Ministry of Education and the Communist Party Youth League jointly issued the "Opinion on Further Strengthening Network Administration Work on University Campuses" (关于进一步加强高等学校校园网络管理工作的意见). Some excerpts:
Online information is extremely complex. All kind of enemy forces use the Internet as an important tool for infiltration, incitement, and destruction, using all kinds of methods to spread capitalist class free speech and attack the Communist Party line policies, including forums, chat rooms, virtual communities, and posting comments on news articles. They utilize hot topics and sensitive issues, deliberately spread rumors, incite the public to discontent, damage normal social order, and spread obscenity and pornography, violence, feudal superstitions and other harmful information, and carry out online illegal activities.
. . . .
Establish IP address utilization information databases and intermediate responsibility systems for IP address assignment utilization in accordance with IP address administration measures. University campus BBSes are information exchange platforms for on-campus network users, and must implement strict real name registration systems for users. It is necessary to strengthen the regulation and management of campus network BBSes, and discover and delete all types of harmful information in a timely manner.
互联网上信息十分繁杂。各种敌对势力把互联网作为渗透、煽动和破坏的重要工具,借助网站论坛、聊天室、虚拟社区、新闻跟贴等多种方式,散布资产阶级自由化言论,攻击党的路线方针政策;利用热点和敏感问题,蓄意制造谣言,煽动社会不满情绪,破坏正常社会秩序;传播淫秽色情、凶杀暴力和封建迷信等不良信息,进行网上违法犯罪活动。
. . . .
要按照IP地址管理办法,建立IP地址使用信息数据库和IP地址分配使用逐级责任制。高校校园网BBS是校内网络用户信息交流的平台,要严格实行用户实名注册制度。要加强对校园网BBS的规范和管理,及时发现和删除各类有害信息。对有害信息防范不力的要限期整改,对有害信息蔓延、管理失控的要依法予以关闭。要建立和完善校园网络安全防护、信息过滤、信息适时监测与跟踪、路由路径控制等系统,构建网络技术防控体系。
General Administration of Press and Publication

In December 2004, the General Administration of Press and Publication published "Ten Focal Points for a Comprehensive Approach to Online Publishing in Accordance with the Spirit of the Communist Party Central Committee's 'Opinion on Further Strengthening Internet Administration Work'" (新闻出版总署传达中央《关于进一步加强互联网管理工作的意见》精神 十项重点工作贯通互联网出版全局). Some excerpts:
All Internet publishing enterprises must, based on the particular circumstances of this agency, strengthen their political consciousness, accept responsibility for safeguarding their respective areas of purview, and undertake self-examination and self-rectification in accordance with the spirit of the "Opinion." With respect to this agency specific work practices, form internal self-discipline mechanisms for online publishing enterprises, guide Internet users toward voluntary compliance with national laws, regulations, and relevant policies, actively publish healthy information, block harmful information and online abusive behaviors and low-class trends. Do not produce or transmit harmful information, and do not link to reactionary or pornographic web sites or web pages.
. . . .
Diligently purify and rectify Internet publishing organizations and strengthen management within your purview. All local GAPP offices shall coordinate with agencies responsible for Internet enterprises to undertake comprehensive purification and rectification of those Internet publishing enterprises that have already registered.  In accordance with local administration principles, establish basic information databases for domain name and IP address utilization for those Internet publishing enterprises that have already registered in your local jurisdiction, and formulate relevant administrative measures.
各网络出版单位要按(意见》精神,对照本部门的实际工作状况?增强政治意识,守土有责,做好自查自纠。针对本部门具体工作实际,形成网络出版单位的内部自律机制,引导网民自觉遵守国家法律法规和有关政策,积极传播健康信息,抵制有害信息、网络滥用行为和低价之风,不制作、不传播有害信息,不链接反动、色情网站或网页。
. . . .
认真清理整顿网络出版机构,强化属地管理。各地新闻出版局将配合互联网行业主管部门对已登记和备案的互联网出版单位予以全面清理整顿,按属地化管理原则,对已在本地登记和备案的网络出版单位,建立域名、IP地址使用等相关基础资料库,并制定相应管理办法。
Ministry of Information Industry

On February 28, 2005 the Ministry of Information Industry (which would later be renamed the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology) issued the "Measures for Administration of Non-Commercial Internet Information Service Registration" (非经营性互联网信息服务备案管理办法). Article 5 of the Measures provided that "anyone providing non-commercial Internet information services within the borders of the People's Republic of China must perform registration procedures in accordance with the law. Anyone who has not registered may not engage in non-commercial Internet information services within the borders of the People's Republic of China.
第五条 在中华人民共和国境内提供非经营性互联网信息服务,应当依法履行备案手续。 未经备案,不得在中华人民共和国境内从事非经营性互联网信息服务。

As part of the registration, web site operators were required to provide a "list of IP addresses" (IP地址列表).

State Administration for Radio, Film, and Television

In May 2005, the State Administration for Radio, Film, and Television issued the "Detailed Implementation Principles for the 'Opinion on Further Strengthening Internet Administration Work'" (《关于进一步加强互联网管理工作的意见》实施细则). Some excerpts:
Establish and perfect Internet web site IP address utilization databases. SARFT will continue to strengthen its coordination with the MIT, strive to achieve coordinated network interconnectivity and information sharing between the monitoring and oversight systems for online radio and television  programs and the CNNIC's national domain name database and IP address utilization database, and gradually establish an IP address utilization database suited to the needs of audio-visual program oversight and management.
. . . .
Establish monitoring and control systems for overseas harmful radio and television program web sites. SARFT is currently formulating the organization of the establishment of a technical project for a monitoring and control system for overseas harmful radio and television program web sites, and will determine who will be empowered to block overseas harmful radio and television programs in accordance with relevant work processes.
建立和完善互联网站IP地址使用信息库。总局将继续加强与信息产业部的协调,争取实现广电公共信息网络视听节目监控系统与中国互联网信息中心全国域名数据库和IP地址使用信息库的联网和信息共享。各地广电部门要注意收集、整理互联网信息服务提供者,特别是视听节目服务提供机构的IP地址信息,充实到广电总局IP信息库中,逐步建立适应视听节目监管需要的网站IP地址使用信息库。
. . . .
建立境外有害广播电视节目网站监控系统。广电总局正在抓紧制定境外有害广播电视节目网站监控系统技术方案并组织建设,落实封堵境外有害广播电视节目网站的授权和相关工作程序 。

Hong Kong Media Reports China Will Impose a Real Name System on News Web Sites

On August 1, 2009, Hong Kong's Ta Kung Pao published an article entitled "Domestic News Websites Requiring Real Names to Post" (内地新闻网站要求实名发帖). An excerpt:
According to a Nanjing City Government official, on July 27 China's State Council Information Office issued a notice requiring all news web sites to eliminate functionality allowing anonymous commenting on news stories, and to implement real name registration systems such that visitors to news web sites must provide their real names and identification information, and may only comment or post on news events once it has been verified. 
据南京市官员透露,国新办7月27日下发的这份通知要求内地各新闻网站取消现行的新闻稿件匿名跟帖或发帖功能,转而实施实名注册登陆制度,即网民在新闻网站注册时必须填写真实姓名、身份证号码等信息,通过验证后方可登陆跟帖或发帖,对新闻事件发表言论。
On September 7, 2009, the New York Times carried a report on the Ta Kung Pao story, and went on to say:
But in early August, without notification of a change, news portals like Sina, Netease, Sohu and scores of other sites began asking unregistered users to sign in under their real names and identification numbers, said top editors at two of the major portals affected. A Sina staff member also confirmed the change. 
The editors said the sites were putting into effect a confidential directive issued in late July by the State Council Information Office, one of the main government bodies responsible for supervising the Internet in China.
On September 11, the International Herald Leader (published by Xinhua) published an article entitled "Is an Internet Real Name System Being Implemented After All? State Council Information Office Refutes 'New York Times' Report" (网络实名制悄然实行? 国新办否认《纽约时报》报道) . An excerpt:
On September 8 a reporter from the International Herald Leader asked the State Council Information Office to verify what was said in the [New York Times] article, and the SCIO staffer replied clearly saying that foreign media reports about an Internet real name system did not conform to the facts, "it is merely registration, not a real name system, this is standard international practice." This staffer went on to add that, when registering Internet users could use online names, and that this merely added a registration requirement in order to reduce individual users and groups from publishing irresponsible speech. 
9月8日,《国际先驱导报》记者就上述报道向国新办求证,国新办工作人员明确回复说,外媒所报道的网络实名制不符合事实,“只是注册,不是实名制,这也是国际惯例”。这位工作人员补充说,网民在注册时可以用网名,仅是增加了一道注册环节,用来减少一些网民和机构发布不负责任的言论。

Beijing Government Imposes Real Name Requirement

In December 16, 2011, when the Beijing People's Municipal Government Press Office, the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau, and the Beijing Municipal Internet Information Office issued the “Certain Provisions on the Administration of Micro-Blog Development” (北京市微博客发展管理若干规定) which included this provision:
Any organization or individual that registers a micro-blog account and produces, reproduces, publishes, or disseminates information content shall use real identity information, and shall not carry out registration by falsifying or replicating a resident’s identity information, business registration information, or organization code information. 
Websites that launch micro-blog services shall ensure that the authenticity of registered user information under the preceding paragraph. 
任何组织或者个人注册微博客账号,制作、复制、发布、传播信息内容的,应当使用真实身份信息,不得以虚假、冒用的居民身份信息、企业注册信息、组织机构代码信息进行注册。 
网站开展微博客服务,应当保证前款规定的注册用户信息真实。
This real name requirement applied to all Beijing-based Internet companies, such as Baidu, Sina, and Sohu.

Cache showing 21st Century Report prior to deletion.
On December 29, 2011, the state-sponsored 21st Century Business Herald published a report entitled "Digging for Gold in the Weibo Real Name System: ID5 Breaking the Surface" (掘金微博实名制:国政通浮出水面). The report quoted an unnamed person at ID5 as saying:
We have already signed a contract with Sina, and are in close talks with Sohu, and besides weibo real name systems, we have already provided solutions for cell phones and games real name systems for the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
The report went on to say that if all Chinese Internet users were subject to real name checks, the fees could be as much as 1 billion yuan (about 160 million dollars), and posed the question: "Why is a single private company, ID5, getting a monopoly on a market this huge?"

The article was deleted from the 21 Century's website, as well as from other websites where it was reposted. Original URL: http://www.21cbh.com/HTML/2011-12-29/3MMDY5XzM5MjA3Mw.html

These screenshots were taken on January 3, 2012, and show that searches for ID5's name in Chinese - "Guozhengtong" (国政通) - on China's two largest microblogging platforms, Sina and Tencent, returned no results, just a notice saying search results cannot be displayed because they might be illegal.

On January 10, 2012, the state-sponsored China Business Times published an article entitled "Internet Real Name Systems are Worth Deliberating" (网络实名制值得商榷). An excerpt:
With respect to those who maliciously spread rumors and jeopardize public order, we believe that law enforcement authorities naturally have the means to track down people using clues and get to the source of the problem. If even this skill is lacking, then many major cases would never be cracked. 
Allowing Internet "anonymity" not only allows for a greater degree of protection of users' personal information and allows them to avoid harassment by harmful information, it allows those users who wish to expose scandalous events through the Internet but who fear becoming the targets of revenge a certain sense of safety. The facts prove that there is a high degree of authenticity to those who employ Internet "anonymity" to expose society's ugly side. Those who caused a sensation when they exposed the "hide the cat incident," the "Han Feng diary incident," and the "Tianjia cigarets official" did not use their real names. We must know that, as far as the powerless masses are concerned, it is a very dangerous move to use their real names to expose ugly events. Thus Internet real names systems will make many keep quiet out of fear. 
Furthermore, to implement a real name system in order to prevent Internet rumors and Internet violence is in fact to impose a kind of prior restraint system, which will have significant impact on citizens' freedom of speech, and this is not in keeping with the tide of the times. The result will not only be a failure to achieve the original intent, but also may lead to a stagnant and stale Internet ecosystem. Perhaps what the "uncivilized growth" of the Internet reflects is a society that is tolerant, free, and lively. 
对于恶意散布谣言扰乱公共秩序者,相信公安部门自然有办法顺藤摸瓜、找到祸源的。如果连这点能耐都没有,那么许多大案要案更加无从侦破。 
允许网络“虚名”不仅能够在很大程度上保护用户的个人身份信息,使用户免受不良信息的骚扰,还能让那些想通过网络揭露身边丑恶现象、但又怕遭到报复的用户获得一定的安全感。事实证明,网络“虚名”所揭露的社会丑恶现象同样具有很高的真实性。轰动一时的“躲猫猫事件”“韩峰日记事件”“天价烟局长”的揭露者,都没有采用实名。须知对于广大弱势群体来说,用实名揭露身边的丑恶现象是一件具有风险的举动。而网络实名制将会让不少人噤若寒蝉。 
此外,以防止网络谣言和网络暴力为名而实行实名制,实际上是一种事先设置的限制,在很大程度上影响了公民的言论自由,这是不符合时代潮流的做法。其结果不仅不会达到其美好的初衷,反而可能会让网络生态死气沉沉,了无生气。或许,网络的“野蛮生长”所反映的,恰恰是社会的宽容、自由和活力。

On February 9, 2012, the Guangzhou Daily published an investigative report entitled "The Multi-Billion-Yuan Real Name Market to Be Split Between Only Two Companies, Payment Collection Called Non-Transparent" (实名制数亿元市场仅两家瓜分 被指收费不透明). Below is a partial translation.
Many people started paying attention when information about the Weibo real name system began making the rounds. The real name system is not only politically driven, it is also a market-driven project, and there is concern that the greatest beneficiaries of the Weibo real name system will be the ID verification services that get appointed by the government. Yesterday, this paper conducted an investigation of this issue, and currently there are only two organizations that stand ready to divide the multi-billion yuan pie that is the real name market, and the fee-collection standards are neither public nor transparent.
. . . .
One company is the National Citizen Identity Information Center, and its website states: This center was established on March 27, 2001, and is responsible for administering and operating the national citizen identification information system to provide national citizen identification information services to government departments and the public. 
The other company is ID5, and that company's website states that it was established in 2001, has a foundation in telecommunications networks and the Internet, and is supported by the national citizen identification information system and other authoritative third party data sources. It provides identification information verification and credit services such as identity information protection and anti-fraud to financial, telecommunications, government agencies, Internet, and individual customers. 
There is competition between these two companies, and public information shows that ID5 has become a contract developer for NCIIC. In addition to providing identification verification to third party websites, ID5 has also launched its own citizen identification verification service platform (ID5 Verification Platform), which is connected to the Ministry of Public Security's National Citizen Identification Information System (NCIIS), and which can confirm the authenticity of identification information by entering in an ID number and comparing it with the data in that system. 
Our understanding is that the fees collected by these two companies are about the same. As to whether the common operations of these two companies constitutes a monopoly, one industry insider said: that's hard to define, because by its very nature identity information is a monopoly. 
实名制数亿元市场仅两家瓜分 被指收费不透明 
微博实名制的消息传出之后,引发了社会关注。实名制不仅仅是政府驱动,也是市场驱动的项目,有关部门指定的身份认证服务商,恐将成为微博实名制最大的受益者。昨日,本报记者对此进行了调查,实名制带来的市场蛋糕每年数亿元,目前仅有两家机构瓜分该市场,而收费标准也不公开透明。
. . . .
一家是全国公民身份证号码查询服务中心,其网站的介绍显示:该中心是于2001年3月27日成立的事业单位,负责建设管理和运营全国公民身份信息系统,为政府部门及社会各界提供全国公民身份信息服务。 
另一家是北京国政通科技有限公司(以下简称“国政通”),该公司网站介绍显示,国政通于2001年成立,是基于电信公网、互联网,依托全国公民身份信息系统等第三方权威数据源,面向金融、电信、政府机构、互联网及个人用户等领域提供身份信息认证、身份信息保护和反欺诈等诚信业务。 
这两家机构也存在竞争关系,公开资料显示,国政通成为了全国公民身份信息系统开发的承包商。国政通除了为第三方网站等提供身份认证之外,还开通了自己的公民身份核查服务平台(ID5核查平台),也是与公安部全国公民身份信息系统(NCIIS)相连接,通过将输入的身份证号码,与该系统内数据进行比对,来核查身份信息的真实性。 
据了解,两家机构收取的费用差不多。对于两家机构共同经营是否构成垄断,也有行内人士说:很难界定,因为身份信息本身就是垄断的。

In May, 2012, Sina notified investors in a 20-F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it had failed to implement the real name registration requirement:
Although we have made significant efforts to comply with the verification requirements, for reasons including existing user behavior, the nature of the microblogging product and the lack of clarity on specific implementation procedures, we have not been able to verify the identifies of all of the users who post content publicly on Weibo. We believe successful implementation of user identity verification needs to be done over a long period of time to ensure a positive user experience. However, we may not be able to control the timing of such action, and, if the Chinese government enforces compliance in the near term, such action may severely reduce Weibo user traffic. The implementation of user identity verification has deterred new users from completing their registration on Weibo and a significant portion of those who have provided identity information to us was rejected by the Chinese government database, which means that these users will have limited posting ability in the future and may cause the level of activity of Weibo users to decrease over time. Furthermore, while the Microblog Rules are not clear regarding the type and extent of punishment that will be imposed on non-compliant microblogging service providers, we are potentially liable for noncompliance of the Microblog Rules or related government requirements, which may result in future punishment, including the deactivation of certain features on Weibo, termination of Weibo operations or other punishments determined by the Chinese government.

Baidu Bans Anonymous Posting on Its PostBar Forums

On July 6, 2012, the following announcement appeared on the Baidu "Tieba Notice Board" - http://tieba.baidu.com/p/1706986305:
[Notice] Say Goodbye to the Anonymous IP Party, Anonymous Posting Functionality on Tieba to be Taken Offline
To All Bar Friends:
Owing to the fact that currently utilization of anonymous posting to engage in malicious activities such as publishing fake ads and harmful information is running rampant, to the point where it is interfering with normal browsing and discussions between moderators and users, on July 12 Tieba will eliminate online anonymous posting, clean up Tieba's discussion environment, and safeguard the interests of the majority of the Great Bar's users. 
【公告】告别ip匿名党,贴吧匿名发贴功能将下线
各位吧友:
鉴于目前利用匿名发贴功能发布虚假广告和有害信息的恶劣行为日益猖獗,对吧主管理和吧友的正常浏览讨论造成较大干扰,贴吧拟定于7月12日取消贴吧线上匿名发贴,净化贴吧讨论环境,维护广大吧友权益。

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