Real names required to use phone in Beijing

Last Updated: Thu, Jan 10, 2013 10:00 hrs

Beijing, Jan 10 (IANS) In a country where many people do not give their real names while registering with telecom companies, residents of Beijing will soon need to provide identification when they register a new phone number or transfer an old one.

The so-called "real-name system" is part of a draft regulation still under discussion, the China Daily reported.

It follows similar moves by many micro-blogging websites to get users to log in with their personal details.

"People's interests will be better protected under the policy, while illegal uses of cellphones, such as fraud and spreading rumours, will be effectively deterred," Tong Liqiang, deputy director of the Beijing Internet Information Office, was quoted as saying.

China Mobile has more than 25 million users in Beijing, among whom 40 percent presented an ID when purchasing products, while China Telecom said more than 60 percent of its clients in the capital registered with real names.

Tong said the date of enforcing the regulation has not been set because many details need to be worked out.

A 24-year-old China Unicom customer, Tang Yu, said she used her ID card when buying her phone in July 2011. "Showing my real identity to get a phone number is fine. It won't affect my life and can help block spam."

However, 27-year-old Zong Zheng was less willing. "I don't want to give my real name to a telecom company. It's unsafe. It could risk my privacy being leaked," he said.

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