Beijing's new Internet identity system

According to the Financial Times, the Chinese government has clear digital identity ideas of its own. 

It's a simple solution, really.  Just make sure the government knows who everyone is and what they are doing all the time while they use the internet.  This applies as much to your identity as an “elf” as to your identity as a professional. 

Under a “real name verification system” to crack down on internet usage – and prevent internet addiction among the young – Chinese police are to check the identity card numbers of all would-be players of internet games.

While it is unclear how rigorously the system will be enforced, Monday’s move highlights Beijing’s desire to more closely regulate the internet and reduce the potential for anonymity…

The same crack down will help ensure Chinese bloggers aren't inconvenienced with the kinds of vexing issues we've faced here with the Sierra affair.

Chinese leaders recently announced a broad push to “purify” the internet of socially and politically suspect activity, and have been keen to push users to use their true identities online. Beijing is also looking at ways of implementing a “real name” system for bloggers to curb “irresponsible” commentary and intellectual property abuse.

It might sound a bit draconian to our ears, but Hu Qiheng of the China Internet Association said bloggers’ real names would be kept private “as long as they do no harm to the public interest”.  That's clearly benevolent, isn't it?  We all know what the public interest is.

According to FT: 

China’s 18-digit ID numbers are mainly based on place of birth, age and gender and are unique to each citizen, but widely available software can generate fake but plausible numbers.

Under the new system, Chinese police would check each number, a government official, Kou Xiaowei, said on Monday.

Players whose IDs showed they were under 18, or who submitted incorrect numbers, would be forced to play versions of online games featuring an anti-addiction system that encourages them to spend less time online, he said.

Minors who stayed online for more than three hours a day would have half of their game credits cancelled; those who played for more than five hours a day would have all of their credits taken away.

As far as I know, the proposal that age verification be used to combat addiction is entirely original (patented?)  The analysis of how this proposal stacks up against the Laws of Identity is left as an exercise for the reader.

More here…

Published by

Kim Cameron

Work on identity.