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People's Daily Online>>China Politics

Calls to protect online privacy

By Tuo Yannan and Guo Rui (China Daily)

08:42, March 09, 2012

A deputy to the National People's Congress takes a picture during the second plenary meeting of the Fifth Session of the 11th NPC at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Thursday morning. (Wu Zhiyi / China Daily)

Lawmakers and political advisers have called for legislation that would require micro bloggers to register their real names, and laws that would further safeguard personal information.

Starting from March 16, users must register their real identities on Chinese micro blogs to post messages, according to regulations set by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

But several members of the National People's Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee told China Daily that they want to see the rules made law.

"Registering real names on micro blogs would curb the spread of rumors and establish online credibility. It is definitely a good thing," said Guo Wei, a CPPCC member and chairman of IT company Digital China Holdings. "But personal information also needs to be protected, so I think China should introduce laws to safeguard Internet information."

China has 513 million Internet users, according to a China Internet Network Information Center report in January. About 300 million are using micro blogs, a massive increase since 2010.

China currently has about 300 million micro-bloggers, says Liu Zhengrong, deputy director of the Internet department of the State Council information office.

There is a noticeable gap between the actual number of micro blog subscribers and the number of micro blog IDs, Liu said. Many subscribers have more than one ID and use dummy IDs to increase the number of micro blog followers or to spread rumors.

Tong Guohua, 54, an NPC deputy and a researcher from Wuhan Research Institute of Posts and Telecommunications, said the Internet as a public communication platform posed risks to netizens' privacy.

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