Media regulation

It's not a real-name system; we just want your real name.

Kou Xiaowei (寇晓伟) at the gaming conference.
Remember the "real-name system" (实名制, also translated as "identity verification") that was supposed to be implemented for online games? You must be imagining things, because it never existed.

Kou Xiaowei, vice-director of GAPP's A/V, Electronics, and Internet Administration Department, spoke at the 2006 China Online Gaming Conference in Chengdu this morning (via Sohu's IT News):

Kou Xiaowei...said that GAPP had never wanted to make a real-name system for online gaming; rather, it wanted real-name registration [实名注册] for online games. "A true real-name system is extremely strict; online game real-name registration only requires gamers to provide their real names and their ID card numbers."

At last year's conference, Kou Xiaowei had this to say:

A "real-name system" has three sub-systems: One, a registration system that discriminates according to ID information; Two, an inquiry system that is open to the community and can allow parents to check whether their children are playing games; Three, a confirmation system that has the cooperation of the PSB to confirm the registered information.
A "real-name system" will definitely be written into law.

When it was floated last year, the "real name" system encountered resistance from adult gamers who resented being subject to the same rules and fatigue systems as minors. But with a few age-related changes, the identification portion of the anti-addiction system that Kou expects to be implemented industry-wide in April or May is basically identical to the one he spoke of last year. The current registration system isn't foolproof; in December, the Chinese media was abuzz with the news of special programs that generate usable name/ID# combinations for gamers to use instead of their real information.

Why the terminology switch? Perhaps Kou is avoiding the term 实名制 because of the negative reaction kicked up when it was proposed as the solution to all forms of bad Internet behavior - real-name systems are currently in the works for blogs, online video, and online music, in addition to the mobile-phone identity verification framework that has yet to be fully implemented, but many Internet users are worried about privacy.

Any guesses as to whether "real name registration" will allay those fears?

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