China cracks down on internet users

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Internet Independent Newspapers File photo: Brandon van der Mescht

China on Friday adopted a regulation requiring the nation's 500 million internet users to register their real names, the latest move from the ruling Communist Party to control online activity.

Lawmakers said the regulation was designed to “enhance the protection of personal information online and safeguard public interests,” the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Approved by the standing committee of the National People's Congress, the party's state parliament, the regulation requires all internet users to identify themselves to service providers.

China's estimated number of internet users has mushroomed to more than 500 million, or about 40 per cent of the population.

The government and internet firms employ thousands of online censors, and block access to Twitter, Facebook and other international social media services and news websites.

Its surveillance tools include keyword filters and close monitoring of micro-blogs and phone numbers used by activists. -Sapa-dpa

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