Tech companies in China will be required to keep records of their users’ real identities in an effort to discourage “false rumors, filthy language and illegal messages,” according to a report.
“They know you’re less likely to challenge the political order if investigators can easily track you down,” claimed Engadget on Sunday. “The timing of this identity requirement, the VPN restriction and other crackdowns (such as an investigation into internet giants for allowing material that ‘harms the social order’) isn’t coincidental. China’s ruling party has its next national congress later in 2017, and it has a habit of ramping up censorship around these gatherings to discourage criticism of party policies.”
“The difference versus previous years, as an anonymous lawyer tells the Financial Times, is the focus of that censorship. Past rules centered around services, but China is targeting the content more directly this time,” they continued. “Also, it wasn’t always evident who was supposed to enforce rules — the Cybersecurity Administration of China is clearly the one wielding authority here. Like it or not, the country is getting much better at clamping down on freedom of speech.”
Last year, China, a Communist country, banned anonymous web surfing and introduced a new internet censorship bill which further prohibits anything that goes against “national honour”, “disturbs economic or social order”, or attempts to overthrow “the socialist system.”
In March, Chinese authorities also added facial recognition technology to toilet paper dispensers in tourist areas, while earlier this month it was reported that surveillance feeds in the country had become the new reality television.
In an article for the Wall Street Journal, writer Josh Chin explained that “China’s 751 million internet users can binge on real-time video streams of yoga studios, swimming lessons, alpaca ranches and thousands of other scenes captured by surveillance cameras.”
Even surveillance of a dance class for children was available on the internet, where anonymous strangers allegedly commented throughout, making comments about the young girls.