Thursday, February 15, 2007

China Set up Citizen Identification Information System

Chinese ID card

China has established what is seen as the largest citizen identification information database in the world, the Ministry of Public Security announced this month.

The database contains the name and citizen identification card number of nearly 1.3 billion people in mainland China, as well as other personal information such as gender and date of birth. It took five years to establish this data system, which was accomplished at the end of last year.

The system, under the supervision of China’s Ministry of Public Security, will allow individuals and businesses to verify certain person’s identity, by submitting this person’s name and ID card number to the National Citizen Identity Information Center, which will compare the submitted information with that in its database and send results back to the service user, even with a picture of the person being checked. People can use the service on the Internet or by text messaging on cellphone.

Every Chinese citizen aged 16 or older is required by law to register with local public security authorities to get an identification card, with their name, gender, date of birth, ethnic group and residence printed on it. People need to provide their ID card when openning bank accounts or becoming cellphone users. Meanwhile, fake ID has been widely used in criminal activities like defrauding, which results in hundreds of millions yuan of loss every year, Xinhua reported.

Although haled as an effective way of preventing identity fraud, the database also brough about concerns for personal information privacy. In state media reports, the authorities have pledged to guard the privacy.

----by Josie Liu


Anonymous said...

This is yet another attempt by the Communist Party in China to keep their legitimacy of rule at the expense of individual's privacy.

This action to register everyone above the age of 16 isn't going to stop the corruption, or crime.

Most of the crime is done by the Communist Party officials, because what many reports failed to point out is that nearly all the leading financial, business and industrial figures in China were invariably the close relatives, sons, daughters, nephews, wives, etc., of China's highest-ranking Communist Party officials.

Anonymous said...

Regards to comment 1:

Why not look at it from a different perspective?

Think about it, a system is essencial for a country's requlation.

Of course a system will brings its own problem, such as, the "expense of individual's privcy, but having a system, may be not a perfect one, will better than having no system at all.

Also in terms of individual's provacy protection, U.S. and UK has done much worse than China, they stole people's ID instead of create a public system for it.