China's legislature on Friday passed new regulations requiring that new users who sign up for Internet services, including popular social networking websites, and landline and cell phone service, register using their real names, Bloomberg reported. Network service providers -- that is, wireless carriers and ISPs (Internet service providers) are charged with collecting the information from users.
Under consideration to help enforce the new law is the idea of having users in China register with ID card numbers.
Xinhua, the Chinese state news agency, said that the measures were passed to "enhance the protection of personal information online and safeguard public interests." Xinhua also stated that as of November, 70 percent of mobile phone users had already registered with their real names.
But the new rules come after a year in which many Chinese social networking users uncovered and posted information about the misbehavior of Chinese government officials, including illicit activities and corruption.