On July 16, 2013, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of the People’s Republic of China (the “MIIT”) issued a new rule entitled Provisions on the Registration of Real Identity Information of Telephone Users (the “Provisions”), which will take effect on September 1, 2013. The Provisions were issued pursuant to the Resolution of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress Relating to Strengthening the Protection of Information on the Internet (the “Resolution”) and the Telecommunications Regulations of the People’s Republic of China. In April 2013, the MIIT issued a draft of the Provisions and solicited public comment.

Under the Provisions, individuals who register for telecommunications services must use their real identity information when they register with telecommunications providers (e.g., operators of fixed or mobile telephone connections). The Provisions aim to increase transparency with respect to the registration of telecommunications users’ personal information. The Provisions require the following:

  • telecommunications users must provide their real identity information when registering user accounts for fixed and mobile telephone service (including wireless network cards); and
  • telecommunications business operators must procure specific verified identity documents from each personal or corporate user.

The Provisions reaffirm many standards set forth in the Provisions on the Protection of Personal Information of Telecommunication and Internet Users. The Provisions also establish some additional standards, including:

  • telecommunications business operators are required to retain the identity information (and related materials) provided by users for two years after the termination of services; and
  • telecommunications business operators are must obligate existing users who have not yet provided their real identity information to provide such information.

The Provisions are the most recent addition to an expanding array of sector-specific regulations governing personal information in China. Telecommunications is the latest sector to be the subject of sector-specific personal information protection regulations under Chinese law.