Use Your Real Name Online in China

by Paul Davies, March 6, 2015

Use Your Real Name Online or Face the Consequences in China

While most of us are trying to keep our personal data separate from our online activity, in China this becoming increasingly impossible.

New legislation being implemented by the Cyberspace Administration of China states that online users must now use their real names in all online profiles, rather than trying to protect their identity through pseudonyms. And if you fail to use a realistic username? Well then, your account will be automatically deleted and you won’t have any access at all!

So far, over 60,000 accounts have been removed from Chinese servers because they fail to meet the strict guidelines over username construction. And as this new policy comes in to force, that number is only expected to get higher.

What’s Wrong With Using Your Real Name Online?

According to the Chinese government, there is absolutely nothing wrong with using your real name online. In fact, the opposite is the case. Using your real name means that anyone trying to connect your online activity with your personal information can do so with much greater ease. And in China, that is seen as a real bonus.

But in providing such obvious usernames, hackers and other online piranhas also have a much easier time trying to penetrate online accounts. And with such an easy link between your online activity and your physical location, they can find out a great deal more about your physical presence too.

With such a move, identity theft and cyber terrorism can become far more prolific, increasing the chances of users becoming a victim of online crime.

However the Chinese Government See Things Differently

By ensuring everyone remains accountable for their online activity by using their real names, the Chinese Government feel that users will be much less likely to engage in illegal or immoral activities online and therefore clean up the World Wide Web once and for all.

Concern for those that wish to protect their identity due to the threat of assault or cyber bullying are completely ignored, preferring a totally transparent internet that offers access, but only to sites the CAC feel suitable.

Already it is impossible to access certain social media and web service sites from a Chinese server simply because the government does not approve. And with such strangleholds becoming increasingly stronger, for Chinese users or those going to China and using Chinese servers, the noose is tightening fast.

What Can Be Done

Though control in China is making it almost impossible for the Chinese web user to maintain their privacy online, thankfully the same cannot be said for the rest of the world.

With a service such as EasyHide-VPN you can actually choose the location of your server anywhere in the world, thereby selecting which national confinements you will be restricted by.

The right VPN service allows you to hide IP addresses or choose your own for each device, thereby maintaining online privacy and ensuring you have access to the sites and information you choose, no matter where in the world you actually sit.

How the situation in China will play out is yet to be determined. But while the rest of the world look to increase security online, it seems that this move may well be a step in the wrong direction.