Sunday, January 18, 2009

China Protects Online Gamers: Another Dubious Idea

"Chinese Online Gamers Must Reveal Real Names"
Dagger IX1 post on (January 17, 2009)

I agree with Dagger IX1: "Online gaming has certainly produced its share of tragedies, but I wouldn't say this is the ideal solution..."

Dagger IX1 links to an article:

"Online gamers in China must soon register with real names"
ars technica (January 16, 2009)

"The addictive nature of online gaming has been proven, at least anecdotally, time and time again. While not everyone who jumps into the digital realms of World of Warcraft or the various other massively-multiplayer online role-playing games is liable to get endlessly sucked in, those with addictive personalities certainly run the risk. In fact, in the East, the problem has gotten so severe that the government of China will soon require MMO players to register their real names when creating online accounts as an anti-addiction measure...."

This Doesn't Sound So Bad?

I've got mixed feeling about this. On the one hand, I don't particularly like the 'anonymity of the Web.' I realize that it's necessary for people who live in some regimes: if they want to both express their opinions and keep breathing. But it also may be one reason why online discussions tend to be less than civil.

Maybe requiring an ID for MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online game) sign-up would encourage a tad more civility. Or, not.

It Could be Worse - And it is

Actually, China's latest efforts to make the Web a nicer place is far from the worst example of government interference freedom of expression.

China's arresting fewer journalists now (possibly because they're running out of reporters to hunt). At the same time, "China is cracking down on the use of Internet cafes for subversive purposes by requiring customers to show ID," which lets officials to find out who has the right attitude - and who doesn't. (ars technica (June 19, 2008))

Knowledge is Power - And I Like Power

It's not just China. Many countries (try to) censor what's on the Internet. Like China's efforts to save people from MMOs, the reasons given often sound quite nice. Who wouldn't want to protect the most vulnerable from life-threatening addiction to the likes of Mabinogi and Runescape?

I discuss my attitude toward being protected from 'dangerous' technology in "Individual Freedom: a Treasure," part of "DC Gun Ban, Online Censorship, Individual Rights, and Power to the People" (Another War-on-Terror Blog (June 27, 2008)).
1 Some of the dangerous technology discussed in "DC Gun Ban, Online Censorship, Individual Rights, and Power to the People" (Another War-on-Terror Blog (June 27, 2008)).

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