Starting October 1st, 2017, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) will enforce new rules, forcing website operators and service providers to request and verify real names and other personal info from users when they register for accounts, and must report any illegal content to the authorities. While this may prevent people from spreading lies about the government or starting uprisings, it will most definitely do more harm than good.
The CAC has created a list containing what would be considered unlawful and forbidden from being posted online, and includes but is not limited to:
- Opposing the principles defined in the Constitution
- Spreading rumors, disrupting social order, and destroying social stability
- Spreading pornography, gambling, violence, murder…
- Insulting or slandering others and infringing upon others
- Any other content that is prohibited by laws and administrative regulations
To sum it up, anything remotely offensive or negative towards others or the government is now considered illegal and punishable by law. VPNs have also been banned, so Chinese citizens have no choice but to abide by these laws or avoid the internet entirely, which in this day and age is something that’s incredibly difficult to do.
On top of censorship, the “Real-Name Policy” poses a tremendous security issue. The more websites someone signs up for, the more they put themselves at risk of having their personal information stolen. Originally, this Real-Name Policy only applied to large websites such as WeChat and Weibo that will have better security in place, but after October 1st it will be required by all websites, including smaller websites with less secure databases. This could result in a hierarchy or monopoly of sorts, as people will only use trusted and well-known websites in fear of having their information stolen. Either way, there will always be a possibility of having personal info stolen, causing the internet to be more dangerous than before this safety law was passed.
Picture from Wikipedia