China, already tough on Internet freedom with its astringent censorship, is looking to take a crack at Chinese citizens' Internet anonymity.
The Chinese government may be taking a page from Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, which has already forced real-name registration on its users.
According to the government-owned press agency Xinhua, the National People's Congress (NPC), China's unicameral legislature, is currently drafting a law that will force Chinese citizens to register their real names with Internet service providers.
The policy will not violate users' privacy, but actually protect it, claims Li Fei, deputy director of the Commission for Legislative Affairs of the NPC. "Such identity management could be conducted backstage, allowing users to use different names when publicizing information," states Li.
The NPC has set up the draft under the guise of protecting Chinese citizens from online fraud. However, the real concern here is for political activists or individuals who would benefit from such online anonymity. After all, the so-called anonymity that the Chinese government claims individuals would continue to enjoy holds little weight when it has access to information about every individual's online activities through ISPs.