Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Asshat of the Day - July 13, 2010

Today's contender, once again, the Government of China.

What's so wrong about making people use their real names online?, you might ask. After all, Blizzard's doing it. Well, yes. And look how that turned out.

But beyond that, there's a difference in terms of the motivation behind the actions. Blizzard's aborted Real ID system was meant as a means of making its forums more civil - the idea being that without the protection of anonymity, users would be less inclined to be impolite.

China, on the other hand (emphasis mine)...
In an address to the national legislature in April, Wang Chen, director of the State Council Information Office, called for perfecting the extensive system of censorship the government uses to manage the fast-evolving internet, according to a text of the speech obtained by New York-based Human Rights in China.


Wang said holes that needed to be plugged included ways people could post comments or access information anonymously, according to the transcript published this week in the group's magazine China Rights Forum.

"We will make the internet real name system a reality as soon as possible, implement a nationwide cellphone real name system, and gradually apply the real name registration system to online interactive processes," the journal quoted Wang as saying.

This isn't a push for civility. It's another brick in the Great Firewall of China, a bit more muscle behind the stranglehold the PRC has been trying to clamp on freedom of expression and information for its citizens.

And it's an Asshat sort of thing to do.

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