One Year Into China’s Real-Name System for Cell Phones, Things Aren’t Going Well
Charles Custer reports for Penn-Olson on regulations implemented last year which require people purchasing a new SIM card (ie a new cell phone number) to register with their real names:
So, one year into this new system, how are things going? Not too well, apparently. A reporter from the IT Times investigated a number of locations in Shanghai and discovered that it’s really pretty easy to buy a SIM card without giving your actual information.
The simplest (and cheapest) method is just to give fake information, or refuse to give any information at all. Most vendors care more about making a sale than they do about this regulation, and if the customer puts up a fuss, they’re not going to argue much. As one worker at a newspaper stand told the IT Times reporter, “there’s no way for us to forcibly check a customer’s ID, so if they’re really not willing to fill it in [on registration forms], all we can do is look the other way.”
Some vendors go a step further. Several of the shops that the IT Times reporter visited told him that if need be — and for the right price, of course — they could arrange cards that were legally registered with someone else’s name and ID number, or fake names and ID numbers. Online, this is even more common.