The Internet real-name system
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The Internet real-name system refers to a system that identifies Internet users by their real name and numbers of ID card. The Korean government announced the implement of real-name system in Korea from October, 2005. That means all the Internet users in Korea cannot put their statements on the forum only when their real name and ID cards are checked by the system. The real-name system extends itself into other countries, which immediately draws attentions from different aspects, as well as some controversy.
Arguments and Discussion
In recent years, the government and the general public exchange their ideas frequently through the Internet, which makes the net become an important channel for citizens to express their ideas and opinions. In the work report of Supreme People's Procuratorate of China, the net has become one of the new reporting channels. However, the main reason for this is the anonymity and amplification of the report from net, which can protect the informer and get quick response from the society (Nali, 2008).The citizens use the net to expose corruption and social problems. Meanwhile, they are committing themselves to the social civilization. The real-name system takes the effect of anonymous statement too easily, which affect the rights of freedom and supervision of the Internet users. This cannot meet the demand of the progress of our times.
However, it should be noticed that with the development of the Internet, it's cannot be avoided to find some rumors and language violence or other issues. This is also the main reason people would like to use the real-name system to protect the environment of Internet. But this is only the minority of the users. Most Internet users are law-abiding. It is overkill to shrinking spaces for Internet users only because the acts of minority.
Form technical aspect, the application of real-name system is also superfluous. In fact, the statement in virtual network is not as irresponsible as most people imagine it. According to de IP address, any Internet users can be checked (Ping, 2005).
When considered from the point of economy, the first element should be considered is the cost. With the implementation of real-name system, the registration could be the first problem. The users' registration information must be compared with the information recorded in the civil registry office in order to confirm its authenticity. Even though it is technically feasible, the cost of the transformation would be huger than the cost producing from anonymity.
Even putting aside the huge cost, the monitoring capability will also be very limited, because the information on the Internet is updating at an amazing speed. Combined with the truth that a lot of sites locate their servers outside the country in order to avoid the real-name system, the results of this system may not be as effective as imagine.
The next element should be considered from economical point is the effect real-name system may bring to the shopping websites. Since the leading site "EBay" used real-name system to offer safety between the buyer and seller, most shopping websites begin to consider the adoption of real-name system. However, there is a need of consideration of the different environment. For example, one of the main features for U.S cities is its large number and relatively small size, which is totally different from other countries, while some country has so many cities that carry more than one million citizens. While at the same time, the Internet in U.S. has gone through a long history when compared with others. As a consequence of these differences, the transaction in one city may be common in China, while has a little chance in the U.S. Thus, there is no need of real-name system with safety of transaction in the same city. The expense of real-name system of shopping websites may be transferred to the sellers in the form of commission. This may drive a lot of sellers away from this newborn market and bring the expense of the buyers. Take the largest shopping website in Asia--taobao.com as an example. According to the survey carried by the website, the intention of real-name system has been received objection from the majority of the buyers, who concerns most about the personal privacy. The Donews which used to be popular among users adopted real-name system, and had its bottleneck when achieved with 2-3 million members. This experience reflects that the real-name system is certain restriction to the websites. For the shopping websites, the purpose of real-name system is to avoid malicious commentary as well as mass advertising by sellers. However, most users hold the idea that the real-name system cannot guarantee the reduction of the malicious commentary. And there is no shopping stage can avoid cheating acts.
Meanwhile, some opponents argue that the Internet industry should be self-discipline. Compared with forcing the users to use their real names, it is more important to educate the Internet employees to learn self-discipline. Taking the lack of standardization in shopping websites as an instance, the most effective way to fix this problem is bringing up credit between buyers and sellers. Especially in some countries whose shopping websites are at their starting stage, the real-name system may drive some buyers away, since they are worried about the exposure of personal privacy. When considering the country which already put the real-name system into practice, Korea is the very first choice to analyze. However, the system there is not as effective as imagined. Some websites who require real names only drive their users into other websites without such requirement.
The Internet should be an open environment. The real-name system would cover too many aspects and people with different ideas. The management of Internet is a global issue, however, due to the different environment and regulations in different countries, there is no common way including real-name system to solve such complicate problem. All in all, the real-name system carries more disadvantages than its advantages. Blindly believe on the effect it brings to regulate the Internet, may receive the opponent results and inhibit the development of this newborn industry.
Nali, Z. (2008). The feasibility analysis of the Internet real-name system, Science,pp.49-54
Ping, A. W. (2005) Don't let the real-name system strangle the Internet. [Online].Retrieved from: http://home.donews.com/donews/article/8/80992.html. Date Accessed: 22, Feb. 2010
The anaylysis of real-name system in Taobao.com. (2009). [Online]. Retrieved from:
http://industry.yidaba.com/fzfzpg/200908/210905121006100100000102454.shtml. Date Accessed: 22, Feb. 2010..
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