Real-name registration for mobile phones expected

17:08, February 03, 2010      

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Beijing is expected to implement a mobile phone identification policy on new mobile phone users beginning this April, which will be applied to current users without registration within the next three to four years, Beijing Business Today reported Tuesday.

An insider from the Beijing branch of China Unicom revealed that the company plans to implement real-name registration for new users applying for services including land-lines, mobile phones and broadband beginning in the second quarter this year, the Legal Mirror reported.

No confirmation has been made from the phone companies as of yet. Zhou Yaqin, in charge of the publicity for China Unicom, said that she was unclear about this and has not received any notices. Sun Bao, the member from the publicity department of the China Unicom's Beijing branch, echoed Zhou's sentiments, adding that it is impossible to take this action at different times in different provinces.

Some believe the action is in response to the nationwide SMS anti-porn campaign. A notice issued by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China last December said that to further crack down on the pornographic SMSs, regulations regarding the management of the text messages are supposed to be enacted before the end of 2010, aiming to provide a legal basis for the implementation of real-name registration for users.

Xiang Ligang, a well-known commentator on the Chinese communications industry, said that the move does not seem to be directed specifically at pornographic messages, claiming that long-term scams and spam via SMS have seriously interrupted social order. "But they will be beneficial in the long run, as 3G technology as well as e-commerce will be dramatically boosted with user registration and access to the net," Xiang told the Global Times.

Many people are showing concern for their privacy. Wang Liusheng, a telecommunications analyst from Analysys, told the Global Times that both manpower and related technology should be strengthened to guarantee registration privacy, adding that many are worried about how the system might be abused.

A mobile phone identification policy has been carried out nationwide since 2006 under authorities' requests but ultimately failed. Xiang said companies are reluctant to join into the campaign as it may hurt their bottom line.

Source: Global Times
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