Beijing Big Brother

It's no secret that China keeps a tight lid on internet freedoms, and it's not about to lighten up today. The government has passed regulations requiring that locals use their real names whenever they sign up for internet- and phone-based services (not just the access itself); while those were already common practices, there's now the real threat of punishment behind them. Anyone who clears those hurdles also has to be more mindful of what they write. If a page or post is deemed "illegal information," service hosts now have to delete its public presence, archive it and pass the content along to authorities. The state unsurprisingly argues that those who already stay on the sunny side of the law have nothing to fear from the new measures (where have we heard that before?), but the reassurances won't be much help to privacy advocates or those challenging corruption.

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China requires real names for internet and phone sign-ups, handovers for illegal posts