Interfax is reporting that starting Sept. 1, all mobile phone and Xiaolingtong subscribers in Shanghai will have to register their numbers with their legal names. This directive from the Shanghai Communications Administration and the Shanghai Public Security Bureau extends to all current and future customers. All SIM cards purchased after Sept. 1 will require real-name registration and all pre-existing subscribers will be given three months to add names to their accounts at designated locations across the city. Users who fail to register will face “serious consequences,” said Hu Yonglong, Vice Director of the Shanghai Communications Administration.
While some may be quick to scream “Big Brother!” and view this as an attempt to intimidate the public and discourage the use of text messages to, say, organize a mass protest, Shanghaiist has always been surprised that names weren’t required for the purchase of SIM cards in Shanghai. Aren’t legal names attached to mobile phone numbers in most countries?
Shanghai officials say the move to name names is in an effort to “protect” users from “fraudulent and malicious SMS messages.”
Photo from the Shanghai Star.