Everyone needs an ID. However, people in China may have to use their IDs for internet access. Not only that, but after the new year, China will be requiring some cities to produce fingerprinted IDs. While these new measures are meant to keep the internet and identities more secure, some are saying that the new policies may be a bit overboard.
Those who oppose the new internet policy are saying that it may be an attempt to silence political speech online. However, according to NY Daily News, the Chinese government is requiring people to register with their full names in an effort to keep their internet healthier, more cultured and safer for everyone.
If the new regulation goes through, a government issued ID must be presented when signing an internet contract. This regulation may seem extreme to some. However, other countries may be working to adopt a similar policy.
In fact, even the United States has discussed making changes to internet identification. In 2011, CNET reported that The Obama administration is moving towards an adoption of internet IDs. Because it is so difficult to verify identities online, the White House plans to have multiple identity providers that are all part of the same system. Administration officials are calling the plan the “National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace.” Someday, they hope to have a virtual equivalent of a national ID card.
Internet identification isn’t the only thing China plans to change either. As of the new year, old ID cards will become obsolete, as new fingerprinted IDs are being distributed in certain locations in the country. As Chinese citizens request new ID cards, fingerprints can then be collected for a biometric database. According to China Daily, over 1.1 billion people have already received their new ID cards.
China’s not alone with this strategy either. Similar measures have also been taken in Israel and India. Planet Biometrics reported that while their plan is also controversial, smart identity cards will now replace Israel’s old ID system. Israel’s pilot for their program will also begin in the new year. Their database will not only contain two sets of fingerprints for each person, but also a facial image.
India has adopted a similar ID program specifically for public transit drivers. In order to ensure the safety of public transit passengers, the biometric ID program has been found to be completely necessary. The reason being, according to Biometric Update, is because of drivers who have criminal records. Out of 1,100 taxi drivers who were servicing the Delhi airport, 70 were found to have a criminal record. Now, public transit passengers can know exactly who they’ll be riding with.
While new ID cards and programs can be controversial, each new program is in place with certain reasoning behind it. Each government has a plan in mind, one that keeps their citizens safer, happier, and with less crime present in their lives. With these new changes in place, Chinese citizens may just be a little bit safer.