According to The Beijing News and the China Media Project in a purported effort to cut down on ‘ID sharing’ in Beijing’s Internet cafes, the government will require that by the end of 2008, first-time visitors will have their picture taken and ID scanned before being allowed online,
Users were already required to show identification when they entered, a rule that has been spottily enforced at times but more strictly, by most accounts, since preparations for the Olympics began.
David Bandurski at China Media Project writes:
The newspaper quoted Li Fei, a spokesperson for the Beijing Cultural Law Enforcement Agency, as saying the policy was aimed at preventing ‘ID sharing’ ). The monitoring platform will allow enforcement officials to target any terminal at any Internet bar in the city to compare the user with registered information.
An editorial in the China Youth Daily, sees the new policy as creating the potential for invasion of privacy.
In this monitoring system that renders users ‘naked,’ how will the freedom and privacy of citizens using the Internet be protected? The Beijing Cultural Law Enforcement Agency reassures us that these controls end with the enforcement team’s monitoring platform and that we ‘have no need to be concerned about the leaking of personal information.’
Well that’s alright then.
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