China may roll back blog anonymity

I wrote a few weeks ago that perhaps the most compelling novelty of the power of the Internet is not the virtual absence of barriers to entry to the market of communications. Rather, it is the fact that this aspect of transparency is paradoxically paired with an historic power to communicate without personal accountability for what you say or how it affects others. In other words, you can publish for free, and to everyone, and instantaneously, and anonymously.

This can be a good thing or a bad thing for a society, obviously.

China, evidently, and not surprisingly, thinks it’s a bad thing — at least for its leadership — and may be contemplating mandating an end to blog anonymity. That doesn’t sound, in the scheme of things, like a good thing in the context of an authoritarian society. But it’s hardly a surprising thing.

UPDATE: Amnesty International, its credibility incrementally restored, writes to tell me about its participation in this the UN Internet Governance summit, featuring its strong stance against the proposed “real name blogging” rule in China. Its website also has a report about the complicity of U.S. companies in Internet represssion in China.

UPDATE:  What censorship in China?!

By Ron Coleman

I write this blog.