Real Name Registration
The proposed identity management system would allow citizens of the United States to use two-factor authentication methods when shopping online or accessing private information such as health or banking records.
The reasoning behind creating such a system is to battle the increase in online crime. By implementing this method to verify people, corporations can decrease the chances of fraud.
However, this very same system could also be used as a ‘real name registration’ system, similar to those already in place in countries like China or South Korea. While this may not happen in western countries any time soon, I can see some over zealous politician propose the idea in the name of protection and security of the citizens. Anonymity would be a thing of the past if that were to happen.
This is actually a reality in countries like Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabians are required to request permission and acquire a license from a government agency before they can blog. Not only that, Saudi Arabia has already reached a deal with mobile phone manufacturer Research In Motion so that it can access messages sent over BBM. Normally those messages are encrypted, but in order for RIM to operate in Saudi Arabia and India, they must allow the government complete access to private messages sent by citizens using BBM.
It’s a threat to freedom of expression and anonymity.
Interesting to see the maker of popular games World of Warcraft and Starcraft wanted to implement a system that uses only real names, but after listening to their customers they have decided to modify their plans.
Aliases and pseudonyms have always been a part of gamer culture even before the Internet became popular.
It’s interesting that a gaming company would want to move in the direction of requiring users to use their real names for their applications, which is very similar to what the Chinese and South Korean governments have implemented.
Government, media and foreign owned websites are required to comply with South Korea’s ‘Act on the Promotion of Information and Communications Network Utilization and User Protection’, which was in effect April 1, 2009.
Google is protesting this law by removing the ability to upload videos by users in South Korea.
Good for Google.
The disturbing trend is that this type of law is now being adopted in other countries like China, possibly even the United States.
What’s next? Controlling which websites are allowed and not allowed if they don’t validate a users true identity? Probably…
While this isn’t surprising as it’s coming from China, what may be surprising is if this trend starts to spread to other democratic countries like Canada and the United States.
It’s likely that type of action would be part of a larger move, something such as the ‘Internet Kill Switch’ that’s been recently introduced by Senator Joe Lieberman.
This effectively means, no more anonymity on the Internet.