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Title: Implications of China's latest statute on internet and the forthcoming real-name registration scheme

Authors: Zhixiong Liao

Addresses: Faculty of Law, University of Waikato, Private Bag 3105, Hamilton 3240, New Zealand

Abstract: A scheme called 'real name registration of information network users' is required to be implemented in China by the end of June 2014. Presumably this scheme is based on the NPC Standing Committee's latest legislation on internet titled Decisions on Strengthening the Protection of Network Information, which imposes on ISPs and ICPs not only obligations to protect online personal information and privacy but also the obligation to collect their clients' true identity information. The latest internet-related legislation and the forthcoming 'real-name registration' scheme raises the question whether the Chinese Government is changing its policy, law and/or the law enforcement regime on regulating the internet contents. Are they merely a disguised internet content control toughening, or something indicating a new trend of China's internet regulation, that is, paying more attention to the protection of online privacy? Does the new legislation add anything new to China's pre-existing legal framework and enforcement mechanism for internet content regulation? Is the Chinese Government sacrificing citizens' freedom of speech for privacy? What are the most possible implications of the latest internet-related statutory legislation and the forthcoming 'real-name registration' scheme? This paper draw its conclusions mainly based on in-depth analyses of China's pre-existing internet regulation regime and the new legislation.

Keywords: real-name registration; internet regulation; privacy protection; China; law; network users; personal information; true identity; online privacy; government policy.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTPL.2015.067977

International Journal of Technology Policy and Law, 2015 Vol.2 No.1, pp.55 - 70

Available online: 11 Mar 2015 *

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