A real-name system is a system in which when a user who wants to register an account on a blog, website or bulletin board system, is required to offer identification credentials including their real name to the network service centre. One may use an on-line pseudonym, however, the person's real identity would be available if rules or laws are broken.
South Korea is the first country to put the real-name system into practice. Since June 28, 2009, thirty-five Korean websites have implemented a name-registration system pursuant to the newly amended Information and Communications Network Act of Korea. It was enacted after the suicide of Choi Jin-sil which was said to be related to malicious comments about her on Internet bulletin boards. The new rule is aimed at minimizing the amount of negative information to make netizens responsible for their behavior on the Internet.
South Koreans have been familiar with the real-name system. Since the mid-1990s, doing real property transactions and financial transactions must be performed under a real name following relevant laws. The real-name system in real property transactions and financial transactions is believed to contribute to the sound economic order of the nation.
On August 23, 2012, however, the Constitutional Court of Korea ruled unanimously that the real-name requirements imposed on big portal service providers by a relevant law is unconstitutional, citing such provision's violation of freedom of speech in cyberspace.
As a result, the so-called "Choi Jin-sil Law", under the deceased celebrity's name, is to be discarded. Until then, websites with more than 100 thousand visitors per day required users to authenticate their identities by entering their ID numbers when they used portals or other sites.
The Constitutional Court said,
The system does not seem to have been beneficial to the public. Despite the enforcement of the system, the number of illegal or malicious postings online has not decreased. Instead, users moved to foreign Websites and the system became discriminatory against domestic operators. It also prevented foreigners who didn’t have a resident registration number here from expressing their opinions online.
According to Yonhap News Agency, the public voice started to agree on the abolishment of a name-registration system because of the severe problem caused by information leakage. Now the official response from the administration is that they will supplement the certain regulations of personal information on the Internet.
China's Sina Corp has introduced a code of conduct for users of the local version of Twitter amid accusations of censorship to rein in what has grown into a raucous online forum to air political and social grievances.
The code of conduct, first announced earlier this month, stipulates that users of Sina's Weibo microblogging site cannot post information that is against the principles of the constitution, cannot harm national unity, disclose state secrets or publish false information, among other rules.
Many users said the restrictions were aimed at muzzling the often scathing and anonymous online chatter in a country where the Internet offers a rare opportunity for open discussion.
The move, the latest in a series of steps to rein in discussion on Weibo, comes as China prepares for a once-in-a-decade leadership handover, expected to be announced at a party congress later this year.
Sina, the biggest of the Weibo operators, also introduced a points system in which a user starts with 80 points and loses points for every violation. A score of zero results in a cancelled account. A user can gain points for validating his or her real identity.
Pros and cons
Due to the name-registration system has both advantages and disadvantages; there must be some public discussions to figure out whether it should be promoted.
From the dropping figures of the amount of following pages in Korea, apparently, name-registration System depressed the communication on the web. Meanwhile, some personal information was given away by hackers on the purpose and there are also many people steeling others’ ID numbers to register illegally. Such cases were spotted very often recently.
Even though the real-name system may decline people’s interest to enjoy their self in virtual reality, in most parts of the world where the democracy is still under-developed, it can play a positive role to encourage more people to be the supervisors of the government with their correct criteria and responsible attitude. Some negative gossip news and unfriendly remarks, which is made up by fake, will be also reduced with laws of name-registration system. Anyone who either makes harmful trouble to the whole society or attack someone by pungent remark will definitely be laid with legal responsibility by plenty of ways. And that would make great contribution to a better Internet environment.
The management of the Internet is a comprehensive subject including society, economy, ethics, management and technology. Whether to take the measures related to the real-name system is the foundation of the future information society. Faced with the flat world of Internet, the whole management system should be closely linked with the globalized world on the way to build an ideal and well-organized society on the Internet.