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China Demands Real Names From Mobile Phone Users

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the no-more-aka dept.

Cellphones 187

itwbennett writes "Starting this month, mobile carriers in China are requiring people who set up new mobile phone accounts to register with their real names as part of a new government measure to reduce anonymity among the country's 800 million mobile users. And within 3 years, the carriers must also register the real identities of all existing users, said China Telecom spokesman Xu Fei. The new policy comes as China has been pushing users to register with their real names online. In August, online gamers had to begin real-name registration under regulations that are meant to protect minors from Internet addiction and 'unhealthy' content."

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I predict (1, Offtopic)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#33443706)

The most common name of Chinese children will become Fuk Yu.

Re:I predict (1, Informative)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#33444192)

The most common name of Chinese children will become Fuk Yu.

Richard Gazinya, here. "Dick" to my friends.

As a high-school freshman, I went by "Ivan Yaganoff". I dated a girl who went by "Phyllis Glass".

We actually did once get a cafeteria monitor to say "Who's Dick Hertz?" At the time, I thought it was the funniest goddamn thing ever in the Universe. Today, of course, I am much more sophisticated, but at the time we cracked up through the rest of the day's classes and straight through to fourth period the next day. "Who's Dick Hertz," indeed.

Re:I predict (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33444932)

Perhaps the Chinese govt needs to learn that the most unhealthy content on the Web, encountered by Chinese citizens, is Chinese govt propaganda.

Re:I predict (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 4 years ago | (#33445358)

We actually did once get a cafeteria monitor to say "Who's Dick Hertz?" At the time, I thought it was the funniest goddamn thing ever in the Universe. Today, of course, I am much more sophisticated

I'm sorry, that shit's funny no matter how old you are. And yeah, I'm over 30. Besides, the pranks only get more involved as you get older.

Sophisticated's overrated.

Re:I predict (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#33445420)

Today, of course, I am much more sophisticated,

You could have fooled me.

Kentucky Fried Movie (1)

Eevee (535658) | more than 4 years ago | (#33444822)

Guard number one is a senior on Klahn's mountain, and aspires to be a research chemist. Welcome, please, Hung Well! Guard number two is a real skating buff. A warm welcome for Long Wang! Traveling comes naturally to guard number three, as he's a licensed airplane pilot. Welcome, please, Enormous Genitals!

Nothing new... (1)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | more than 4 years ago | (#33443730)

India has been doing this for years. It's not possible to get a sim card without a valid 'proof' of your identity. It's another matter that if the terrorists really want to get a sim card, this requirement wont stop them - as it's very easy to get forged documents.

Re:Nothing new... (5, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#33444110)

India has been doing this for years. It's not possible to get a sim card without a valid 'proof' of your identity. It's another matter that if the terrorists really want to get a sim card, this requirement wont stop them - as it's very easy to get forged documents.

If all terrorism disappeared tomorrow never to reappear in any form whatsoever, governments everywhere would mourn its passing.

Re:Nothing new... (3, Interesting)

Psaakyrn (838406) | more than 4 years ago | (#33444544)

False, they'll just define something else as terrorism.

Re:Nothing new... (1, Interesting)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#33444782)

False, they'll just define something else as terrorism.

No offense, but "definition of 'any form' fail". Not that I don't appreciate your general point. Just that I carefully worded my post to account for it. You're absolutely right thought that this is the mentality with which you are dealing.

Re:Nothing new... (1)

Psaakyrn (838406) | more than 4 years ago | (#33445406)

No one said that their new definition of "terrorism" has to any way resemble "terrorism". Nor do they have to use the actual words, only the intent. Before terrorism, we had "Protect the children" (and after that we'd still have that unless something solves that). And before that, we had "Stop the Commies". With the rise of China, we may well see this coming into play again.

It's a never-ending cycle, they just need an excuse, any excuse will do.

Re:Nothing new... (1)

suomynonAyletamitlU (1618513) | more than 4 years ago | (#33444900)

If all terrorism disappeared tomorrow never to reappear in any form whatsoever, governments everywhere would mourn its passing.

If a government is mourning its passing, not all terrorism has disappeared.

Re:Nothing new... (1)

maugle (1369813) | more than 4 years ago | (#33444928)

"*sigh* ... Well, at least we still have pedophiles and crack addicts."

Re:Nothing new... (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#33445608)

as it's very easy to get forged documents.

Aww.... /me acts disappointed you didn't mention the ease of secretly cloning the SIM card of someone walking by 15 feet away, using cellphone scanners.

Re:Nothing new... (4, Insightful)

omglolbah (731566) | more than 4 years ago | (#33444194)

Requiring it has been required in Norway for a while.

This is the direct result of people abusing the system by getting pre-paid phones and being cockbags with them. Now you cant get anonymous phones.

Personally I do not have an issue with this. While I love privacy I also think that at some point you need to have a certain amount of accountability. Being called up at 4 in the morning by some assbag pretending to be a customer at work.... not amusing.... not at all....

Then again, almost nobody opt out of the cellular phone registry here, so if I have a phone number or a name I can find the other. Their street address is also in this system.
Anyone can query it at sites like Gulesider.no ("yellowpages").

If you dont want people to know who you are, then dont call them :p

Re:Nothing new... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33444328)

This is the direct result of people abusing the system by getting pre-paid phones and being cockbags with them. Now you cant get anonymous phones.

what good is a freedom if you can't use it for anything.. "you can be anonymous as long as you comply with X" is not a freedom.

Re:Nothing new... (0, Troll)

The Master Control P (655590) | more than 4 years ago | (#33444924)

If you want to protect the theory of nice things, don't be a shithead or they'll be taken away in practice.

"B b but they said 'unlimited internet', how can they complain about me download TB of stuff I'll never watch just because I can!"
"But FedEx said the boxes were free, what do you mean they somewhat expect me to ship stuff via FedEx with them and not take dozens to build cardboard furniture?"

In other news, can we please just shoot the goddamned assholes instead for a change?

Re:Nothing new... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33444970)

'nice things' are only nice if you can actually use them. if you can't, they're not really that nice after all. conditional anonymity is worthless.

well then they shouldn't have said 'unlimited internet'.. no one's fault but theirs.

they did say the boxes were free.. maybe beyond a limit, they ask for proof that your'e actually shipping stuff?

I agree. we should shoot the assholes, however I don't think your list and mine line up.

Re:Nothing new... (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 4 years ago | (#33444324)

"But my name really is Dogg6969! My parents loved animals... a lot."

Re:Nothing new... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33445082)

This logic of not passing laws because they can easily be broken is idiotic.

Isn't this the same in the US? (3, Insightful)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 4 years ago | (#33443756)

I seem to recall AT&T demanding my social security number when I signed up.

Re:Isn't this the same in the US? (2, Informative)

fugu (99277) | more than 4 years ago | (#33443810)

Not sure if this is still the case, but you used to be able to buy a prepaid phone with cash.

Re:Isn't this the same in the US? (3, Informative)

Fred IV (587429) | more than 4 years ago | (#33444566)

Yes, this is still the case. You can buy prepaid phones and replenishment cards with cash at a convenience store and then activate or add minutes online without having to provide proof of identity. Paranoid types will do this at an open wi-fi access point to avoid leaving an IP trail. I know TracFone operates this way, but the other carriers may have a similar policy.

Re:Isn't this the same in the US? (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 4 years ago | (#33444736)

you can call in (from any phone) and register a cash-bought 'burner' (lol).

they will ask you for your name. I said 'sorry, I don't want to give that'. and he said (tracphone, btw) 'well, I need SOMETHING to call you by. make up a name'.

I laughed.

(no, I didn't start up with 'you can call me ray, or you can call me jay ...'. the guy in india might actually BE 'jay' and not quite get the joke.)

Re:Isn't this the same in the US? (1)

scream at the sky (989144) | more than 4 years ago | (#33445550)

I was in Seattle recently, and walked into an ATT store to pick up a prepaid sim for my phone to avoid roaming charges with my Canadian carrier.

less than 5 minutes later, I walked out of the store with an assigned mobile number, $10 worth of minutes on the phone, and $10 lighter in the wallet. the dude didn't even ask me for my name of identification. when I quizzed him on that, he told me my name was homer simpson, and I was born 01/01/1980

Re:Isn't this the same in the US? (2, Insightful)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 4 years ago | (#33443812)

I seem to recall AT&T demanding my social security number when I signed up

That's probably because they run a credit check on you since you're entering into a contract with them and they typically subsidize your phone price.

I'm not sure, but I believe you can get a prepaid phone without a social or anything like that. And since most phones in China run on the pre-paid model, there's no need to keep track of who people actually are.

Re:Isn't this the same in the US? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33443832)

That's so they can run a credit check on you. They don't really care if you are who you claim, what they care is whether you can pay your bill.

Ah, America.

Re:Isn't this the same in the US? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33443842)

>I seem to recall AT&T demanding my social security number when I signed up.

Credit check. Pay-as-you-go or prepaid don't need anything, even your name.

Re:Isn't this the same in the US? (4, Insightful)

Surt (22457) | more than 4 years ago | (#33443852)

And you just gave it to them? No, they do not have the right to demand your SSN, and you are under no obligation to provide it to acquire a cellphone. Laws in some states even make this practice illegal, assuming that they would not back down on the demand (if they back down, no problem, they can ask, they are just required to bow to your refusal).

Re:Isn't this the same in the US? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33444042)

What states would those be?

Re:Isn't this the same in the US? (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 4 years ago | (#33444218)

CA and NY at least both have SSN disclosure laws that would prevent this (with some specific exemptions that don't include cell carriers).

Re:Isn't this the same in the US? (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 4 years ago | (#33444340)

Wouldn't the SSN just be part of the information they get back when running a credit check on you?

Re:Isn't this the same in the US? (1)

dissy (172727) | more than 4 years ago | (#33444592)

Wouldn't the SSN just be part of the information they get back when running a credit check on you?

They can make that assumption if they wish.

Of course, if you have a common name and someone else with said name has poor credit, they can also assume you as the same person and deny you services.

However in reality cellular carriers only even try asking for your SSN if they will be extending some form of credit to you, usually in the form of loaning you a phone for no money up front in exchange for charging you for that phone (and then some) over the course of your contract.

If you pay for your phone out right, and then pay for service on a month to month basis however, there is no credit involved and so no SSN assumptions need to be made.

Re:Isn't this the same in the US? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33444760)

Cite please. The only California laws I've read limit the disclosure of SSNs, not the collection.
http://www.privacy.ca.gov/res/docs/pdf/ssnrecommendations.pdf [ca.gov] Have a look for yourself and tell me I'm wrong

Bzzzzt. Wrong answer. (4, Informative)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 4 years ago | (#33444392)

Under federal law (or more specifically, the law is tacit on the subject that) ANYONE may ask that you provide a social security number - and use it as an identification number for you - except the government. Now, that comes with some caveats. You are not required to give them your SSN, but in that case they are allowed to deny you their services based on your refusal.

Your state laws may have other provisions, but normally the alternative is that you must give them enough personal identification to uniquely identify you and your entire financial history...which is really the only reason not to give out your SSN. With the information they have, just about anyone can get your SSN for $10.

Re:Isn't this the same in the US? (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#33445624)

If you take legal action against them for asking for your SSN, you can be rest assured, your identity will be known, which is what you were maybe trying to avoid, or was it?

Re:Isn't this the same in the US? (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#33444452)

Thats funny, its illegal to use a social security number for any purpose other than taxes or social security benefits.

Re:Isn't this the same in the US? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33444668)

Absolutely false. In fact, federal law requires that it must be provided to obtain a license of any kind. Including a fishing license. You can thank Bill Clinton and the Republican held Congress circa 1996 for that. It is used to track down "deadbeat dads".

Re:Isn't this the same in the US? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33445346)

No, it's illegal for THE GOVERNMENT to use it for any other purpose. Commercial entities and private persons can use it for (almost) whatever they want.

Re:Isn't this the same in the US? and AUS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33445548)

Telstra like asking for all sorts of personal questions when you connect a land line.

Why do they need my date of birth? *sigh*

So, when I connect a land line (yes, with Telstra, it's a long story, go read whirlpool.net.au for details) I say "I don't have a licence" and "I am not allowed to disclose work information" and "I am not allowed to disclose my date of birth".

Say the work one first, they then assume you work for defence or similar, and stop asking stupid questions .. like what is your driver's licence number (I still don't know why they would *need* this to connect a home phone line).

Also, I fail to see why I should disclose to telstra if I am planning on connecting a DSL service on the land line being requested. What business is it of theirs? Meh.

spain is doing the same (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33443766)

spain is doing the same - so why not china?

Re:spain is doing the same (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33444430)

worst reasoning ever.

Foolproof Plan (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33443804)

1. Register for a cell phone with the real name of someone you hate.
2. Commit a crime with the cell phone.
3. ???????????
4. PROFIT!!!!

Re:Foolproof Plan (1)

allusionist (983106) | more than 4 years ago | (#33443972)

Turns out this already exists in many forms...it's called fraud. This doesn't change that except maybe making it marginally harder.

I'm being serious here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33443816)

...why does this matter and what would it solve? i'm not trolling, but the hong kong office of my company as 80 people in it' IT department. no lie, 50+ of them have the same name. that's just the IT group; add another 450+ for the other employees. we append port number to their names (informally) so we can have some idea of who it we are talking to. there are only so many names to go around for 5 billion people. i have to imagine that there must be some value in tracking this as any identifying marker is better than none. but still, it seems kind of useless. apologies if anyone takes this as a troll as that's not my intent. at what point does a common value loss it' "value"? 1 billion? 5 billion? what's the formula that makes this worthwhile?

Re:I'm being serious here... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#33444322)

the hong kong office of my company as 80 people in it' IT department. no lie, 50+ of them have the same name.

I think Chinese names are a little bit more diverse than that.

Re:I'm being serious here... (1)

koxkoxkox (879667) | more than 4 years ago | (#33444828)

In China, some surnames are very common, but the possibilities for first name are virtually endless. There is not a finite list that most people choose from like in the West (at least the part of 'West' I know). A lot of people share the same surname, but to share the same name completely is very rare. Because of that, it is much more frequent to use the complete name of someone.

Additionally, the system will of course use Chinese characters, not the simplified romanisation used in English press articles and maybe in your company that very often group together twenty or more different characters, so multiply greatly the risk of collisions between two names.

Plenty of places do this (1)

mirix (1649853) | more than 4 years ago | (#33443818)

Seem to recall having an issue getting a SIM in England, but it's been a while...

What surprises me is that China wasn't /already/ doing this.

Re:Plenty of places do this (1)

xnpu (963139) | more than 4 years ago | (#33445156)

Nope, they didn't The issue that I have with this is that points of sale will drastically decrease. Currently you can get simcards literally everywhere. (Every news stand, soda salesguy or cigarette shop will sell you one.) Already word on the street is that this is 'mafan' (hassle) if nothing else and people will stop selling.

Public phones (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#33443830)

I wonder if Governments will start to clamp down on anonymous use of public phones, by requiring credit cards or pre paid cards with ID.

How can this be enforced? (1)

fnj (64210) | more than 4 years ago | (#33443836)

So Obi-Wan has a private transaction and sells his phone to Skywalker. Skywalker then calls the service provider and tells him "his" address (i.e. Obi-Wan's for all the provider knows) has changed from 4523782378 First Street to 4361278 7th Avenue (where Skywalker in fact lives). How does the Gesta^H^H^H government know the phone has moved to Skywalker's hands now?

Anyway, bless the internet and chat. Fat chance trying to enforce traceability with that. Since any fool can set up OpenFire on his own cheap VPS server and run it with SSL to boot.

Re:How can this be enforced? (2, Informative)

rm999 (775449) | more than 4 years ago | (#33444044)

What you are proposing would be breaking the law. Like any law, people will follow it if they think they may be punished for breaking it. It would be up to China to enforce this if they think it is important.

In the case of India, when someone registers a SIM card he can expect a government official to visit his home and verify his identity shortly after the purchase (India is super paranoid after the Mumbai terrorists used cell phones to coordinate their attacks). I believe officials can visit your registered address anytime after that to make sure you haven't sold the card. If India can enforce a law like this, I'm sure China can.

works fine in Germany (2, Interesting)

yyxx (1812612) | more than 4 years ago | (#33444120)

You have a government issued ID with a government-issued ID number. Phone companies are required to collect this information and verify it with the government. They also generally require banking information for billing purposes, and make sure that that's consistent with the registered user of the phone as well. Yes, you can try to privately sell a SIM card registered under your name to someone else and manage to get by with prepaid cards. But that's a risky thing to do, because if the phone is used for some illicit purpose, the police will come to you. Even if you can prove you didn't do the crime, intending to get around registration requirements itself may cause trouble. There are some ways around this (e.g. roaming SIM cards), but most people are fully registered and tracked.

As for the Internet, Internet connections are also registered with the government under your name, and your provider is required to keep a record of all your connections, and it's illegal to set up open access points. Of course, it's easier to communicate clandestinely with Internet protocols, including going through foreign proxies, but if you try, that itself is often detectable and suspicious.

Where Germany wins over a place like Saudi Arabia is that they generally use all this tracking and surveillance only against actual crimes, although it's probably only a matter of time until those protections erode and governments will start using it for political purposes. Some of the people responsible for the laws and technology had plenty of experience from fascist and communist regimes.

Re:works fine in Germany (1)

Local ID10T (790134) | more than 4 years ago | (#33444244)

You have a government issued ID with a government-issued ID number. Phone companies are required to collect this information and verify it with the government. They also generally require banking information for billing purposes, and make sure that that's consistent with the registered user of the phone as well. Yes, you can try to privately sell a SIM card registered under your name to someone else and manage to get by with prepaid cards. But that's a risky thing to do, because if the phone is used for some illicit purpose, the police will come to you. Even if you can prove you didn't do the crime, intending to get around registration requirements itself may cause trouble. There are some ways around this (e.g. roaming SIM cards), but most people are fully registered and tracked.

As for the Internet, Internet connections are also registered with the government under your name, and your provider is required to keep a record of all your connections, and it's illegal to set up open access points. Of course, it's easier to communicate clandestinely with Internet protocols, including going through foreign proxies, but if you try, that itself is often detectable and suspicious.

Where Germany wins over a place like Saudi Arabia is that they generally use all this tracking and surveillance only against actual crimes, although it's probably only a matter of time until those protections erode and governments will start using it for political purposes. Some of the people responsible for the laws and technology had plenty of experience from fascist and communist regimes.

Wow. That is just difficult to imagine, especially for Germany. I'm trying really hard not to Godwin this discussion, but... Doesn't that all sound a bit fascist? The population is numbered, registered, monitored, and tracked?

Re:works fine in Germany (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 4 years ago | (#33444942)

Do you think that it's that different here in the States? For most wired broadband Internet connections, you're going to need to give them a real service address (they need to know where to string the wires, right?), and a real billing address (these are the same for most people, of course, but they need to know who/where to send the bill). They're expecting a real name, but I imagine you could give them an alias, as none of my wired ISPs have ever asked for ID. Not sure how much good that would do, however, as they know where you live.

Re:works fine in Germany (4, Funny)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 4 years ago | (#33444762)

Where Germany wins over a place like Saudi Arabia

wait, did you just say that? "hey, at least we're not as bad as the saudis".

Re:works fine in Germany (1)

yyxx (1812612) | more than 4 years ago | (#33444890)

Well, it's more like "at least they are not as bad as the Saudis".

Re:works fine in Germany (1)

xnpu (963139) | more than 4 years ago | (#33445192)

Back in the Netherlands this was easily fixed. One guy bought 30.000+ simcards and sold them. That may be a crime in itself for which he could be (but wasn't) charged. More importantly, the huge amount of cards made it plausible that he indeed sold some/most/all cards that ended up being involved in a crime.

About time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33443844)

Thank you to the Chinese goverment waking up to this. The spamming levels should drop at least until the spammers find another method of delivery....

Unusual? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33443900)

We have had to show photo id for as long as I can remember in Austraila when getting a new phone or sim card.

There really isn't that much seperating "us" and the "bad" guys these days except we are "us".

Re:Unusual? (4, Interesting)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 4 years ago | (#33443968)

Well it seems like Australia actually has some of the most draconian laws in the "western" world concerning things like the internet, anonymity, porn, censorship and so on. And yes, I know Australia isn't in the west.

Re:Unusual? (3, Informative)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#33444346)

Well it seems like Australia actually has some of the most draconian laws in the "western" world concerning things like the internet, anonymity, porn, censorship and so on. And yes, I know Australia isn't in the west.

We have our moments [theage.com.au]

Re:Unusual? (1)

dohzer (867770) | more than 4 years ago | (#33444424)

Real names are required to register mobile phones in Australia, right? Or is it different for pre-paid phones?

Re:Unusual? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#33444922)

You want anything sim related, have to prove who you are.
~ photo id, bank card, medicare card, bank statement
It started with banking and other databases for pensions ect.
Australia embraced public, 24/7 database searches to combat fraud in the mid 1980's.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_Transaction_Reports_and_Analysis_Centre [wikipedia.org]
There was chatter from the feds about doing the same for ISP contracts too.
Long term the idea is instant ip seen on net to real name for any cleared Australian police/fed in near realtime, no courts, waiting, no paper work.
So yes banking is tight, phones too, ID for ISP's are been looked at with interest.

Re:Unusual? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33444848)

i only had to hand over a wad of $50s to get my prepaid phone. they also don't require any proof of ID when you register it. When you go on a plan however obviously you have to hand over some sort of information.

Re:Unusual? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33444098)

You know there is a solution. [metagovernment.org]

But it requires thinking and being free. Things that scare people.

Maybe we are better off with "the government" (who exactly is that, if it is not us?) taking care of us.

Re:Unusual? (1)

SQL Error (16383) | more than 4 years ago | (#33445168)

Doesn't have to be photo id; if you pay for it by credit card that's good enough.

But I agree that the law is oppressive and needs to be repealed.

Wow.. these kids are pretty trusting... (1)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 4 years ago | (#33443904)

Cell phone users simply should register with their real identification, said Li Mi, a coffee shop worker. "This is good, it will be secure," she said. "I know some people will be afraid about revealing their personal information, but I don't think that will happen. The (companies) won't give that out."

Seriously Li Mi? You don't think the companies will sell your information to the highest bidder?

"I think it will be more secure and the carriers will be able to track and store my information", said Li Junru

Jeez. These kids are pretty brainwashed.

They're getting rid of one of the last anonymous communication tools in a country that heavily polices any speech which criticizes the government. And all these kids can think of is that it will allow them to restore their contact list from the company's server if they lose their phone.

Re:Wow.. these kids are pretty trusting... (3, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#33443956)

Jeez. These kids are pretty brainwashed.

Or, they know better than to object publicly. Or the news agency made sure to print only comments favorable to the policy -- a practice not, alas, restricted to China.

Re:Wow.. these kids are pretty trusting... (2, Insightful)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 4 years ago | (#33444034)

Or they've been indoctrinated through years of Chinese public education.

In reality they probably don't even exist. Why go out on the street to get comments on something, especially if you know everyone is too scared to give you anything but the party line anyways?

Re:Wow.. these kids are pretty trusting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33444122)

In reality, I think you are simplifying the entire scenario. I'm sure that there are a large amount of kids who are silently rejecting authority. Not because its the right thing to do... Not because it's the cool thing to do... but because, given a group of X people, N/X people will just naturally resist authority. Such is human nature.

Re:Wow.. these kids are pretty trusting... (2, Interesting)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#33444230)

Or they've been indoctrinated through years of Chinese public education.

If so, then they learned it from the USA which learned it from Prussia which learned it from India's training for the underclasses of the Hindu caste system. The original founders of the USA system used to be quite open about this soon after the Industrial Revolution. Their biggest fears were that overproduction caused by too many independent American entrepreneurers might make them take heavy losses on their massive investments in industrial equipment and centralized production and that the poor might become dangerously discontent.

The solution they embraced was a system of schooling designed to teach the masses just enough to be useful workers but not so much that they can think critically and understand things like Thesis, Antithesis, Synthesis or bread-and-circus. Other nations saw how useful this was for the ruling class (who, by the way, overwhelmingly go to elite private schools where they are taught to be leaders) and adopted similar policies.

The fact that people in Western nations tend to recognize China's use of public schooling for these purposes (because China is teh evil!) but fail to recognize the less-extreme version employed by their own countries (because we are patriotic!) is a masterful triumph of this system.

Re:Wow.. these kids are pretty trusting... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33444198)

Or maybe

http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/3/19/ [penny-arcade.com]

post AC just for extra irony :)

Re:Wow.. these kids are pretty trusting... (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 4 years ago | (#33444776)

"I think it will be more secure and the carriers will be able to track and store my information", said Li Junru, speaking slowly and clearly into the nearby potted plant.

There. Fixd it for you.

No problem (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#33443938)

I've got nothing to hide.

Singned,

Sum Yung Gai

India already does that and more (1)

Tester (591) | more than 4 years ago | (#33443964)

Last year, when I visited India, the world's largest democracy, I tried to buy a pre-paid SIM card. They asked me for a photo, proof of address (like my hotel's address) and a photocopy of my passport. It seems it's standard in India since the Mumbai attack.

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin

Re:India already does that and more (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#33444014)

Man, that shit was pain in the ass, and then the card gave up only after a week. Piece a - how do you say shit in Hindi?

Damn cheap, though, with good coverage.

blame cell phone bombs on needing real names to ge (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#33444030)

blame cell phone bombs on needing real names to get a phone.

Re:India already does that and more (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 4 years ago | (#33444114)

In Europe(at least Germany) you are also required to show ID in order to buy a sim. I guess as a result of the Madrid attacks, not sure. But anyway, if you REALLY wanted a SIM that wasn't in your name all you would have to do is hang around at night near where drunk people gather. You can be guaranteed that at least one person will drop their phone.

Re:India already does that and more (3, Insightful)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 4 years ago | (#33444116)

I like how people always feel like they have to cite that India is the world's largest democracy, as if that amounts to a hill of beans. Does doing terribly stupid, ineffective, and seemingly oppressive things magically become OK just because some plurality of the people managed to strategically vote their party into a leading position? I think not. At least the Communist Party in China doesn't have to go through the indignity of lying about their intentions and motivations.

In reaction to SCAMS (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33444124)

Speaking as an expat who has been living in China for almost 5 years, this is being SOLD as a reaction to phone scams. It is a general rule that when you deal with real estate agents, art agents and others, do not give them your phone number or you will be bombarded with spam text messages at least 10-15 times a day. On top of this, there is an almost daily report of some crime ring scamming people for money by sending them text messages, or calling them while impersonating someone/some agency they know and trust.

That's how it is sold to the public, who otherwise would make a stink about this kind of thing. Even in this political environment, you have to suger coat the pills a little.

Good! (4, Interesting)

Local ID10T (790134) | more than 4 years ago | (#33444158)

Now when they try to push the same legislation thru here in the USA all it will take is a quick comparison to COMMUNIST CHINA to get the politicians to vehemently oppose it....

Re:Good! (1)

MadMaverick9 (1470565) | more than 4 years ago | (#33444982)

Why is the parent modded "insightful"?

In the USA you already have this legislation for the longest time.

You have to show some form of id when you buy a cell phone/sim card in the USA; be it credit card, driver's license, etc.

I know this from my own experience: when I bought a cell phone ten years ago at an AT&T store, they asked me for my driver's license.

So ... the USA is no different than Europe, Australia, ... or China.

Re:Good! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33445568)

Except that you're wrong, good point. I can walk into any store and buy a pre-paid phone, complete with the sim-card and pay with cash. No ID, name or signature required.

I know because I bought my grandmother an AT&T pay as you go phone about 3 months ago.

Re:Good! (1)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#33444998)

Now when they try to push the same legislation thru here in the USA all it will take is a quick comparison to COMMUNIST CHINA to get the politicians to vehemently oppose it....

Until it's attached as a rider to some bill that otherwise has overwhelming support. Hey, it worked for the Internet Kill Switch and so many other pieces of bad legislation...

It's not like the elected politicians actually read the bills they vote on anyway. They're far too important for such trivial and mundane tasks. They have people for that!

Re:Good! (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#33445256)

You're too late.

All US cell companies require ID for a "credit check" that also verifies the ID of whomever is going to pay the bill. They've got your name, SSN, and home address.

Sure, there's prepaid that can be bought with cash, and I know the research into this was done by Ryan Seacrest, Guilana Ransic and the rest of the E! News team, but it doesn't make it any less true. Buy too many minutes with cash only and don't pay with a credit or debit card at all, and they'll raise prices and tap the phone.

Has been the case in Europe ever since (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33444382)

I don't really see the story here.
I guess whatever China does is news?
This has been in effect pretty much all over the world as far as I know.

Just in Africa? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33444448)

In most of Africa, you can still buy (and activate and permanently use) a SIM card without showing any ID. Then again, many Africans (especially from former conflict zones) don't have great ID. But I know of few other places where this is possible.

So in the country of 1.3 billion people.... (1)

BLToday (1777712) | more than 4 years ago | (#33444520)

there's built-in anonymity with millions of people with the same name.

Good... (1)

Hamsterdan (815291) | more than 4 years ago | (#33444584)

Now if only registrars did the same when selling domain names...

Because after all... (1)

tombeard (126886) | more than 4 years ago | (#33444604)

There is no way a black market in prepaid sims could develop. Follow the money.

here's mine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33444616)

ok, Commie Pinko China-- you want my real name? Here you go: BITE ME

As seen on (Mexican) tv! (4, Informative)

Superdarion (1286310) | more than 4 years ago | (#33444692)

A couple of months ago they tried this in Mexico [slashdot.org] . At first everyone was scared because they said they'd disconnect any line that wasn't registered.

At the end they didn't because too many people didn't register (in the order of millions) and about a month after the deadline the government simply desisted on the whole idea, calling it a "bad idea" and claiming that it was badly implemented.

Too bad the Chinese can't count on that happening, though.

Re:As seen on (Mexican) tv! (1)

carp3_noct3m (1185697) | more than 4 years ago | (#33445578)

Some of the German carriers do this as well, while I was visiting I made an account, and gave them my true identity...James Bond. ;-)

unhealthy? (1)

VirtualJWN (1084071) | more than 4 years ago | (#33444824)

Bullets are definitely unhealthy.

A totalitarian Govt cannot survive anonymity (0, Troll)

BeadyEl (1656149) | more than 4 years ago | (#33444844)

...and the one thing the Chinese government values above all else is its own power. More than economic prosperity, more than public health, more than national prestige - the Chinese government treasures its own continuous reign.

Canada too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33445098)

In Canada, you need a name even to buy a prepaid cellphone. It's probably easy to lie however.

Big Turn (1)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 4 years ago | (#33445362)

Never saw this coming.

Be glad it's just your name (1)

Clovert Agent (87154) | more than 4 years ago | (#33445512)

In South Africa there's RICA - the Regulation of Interception of Communications Act - that requires cellphone users to register every SIM card with all their details, including proof of ID and residence, before the end of the year (IIRC) or be cut off.

The likelihood of reducing crime versus feeding a booming black market for SIMs is left as an exercise for the reader.

Change for the worst (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33445556)

I was able to get 500MB per month mobile internet plan (using GSM EDGE) in China without ever showing a piece of ID or so much as a credit card.. try doing that in most countries.

Too bad it's going to change, China in some ways seemed really libertarian to me but they are coming up with more regulations all the time

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