Opinion / Editorials

A sound info environment

(China Daily) Updated: 2014-08-08 07:31

The convenience a smartphone provides to shared access to all sorts of information via micro text messages means it can also facilitate the transmission of harmful messages, such as pornographic material or terrorist information or information about sects that may lead the recipients astray. So it is necessary to have rules to regulate the information shared among smartphone users.

The Temporary Regulations on the Management of the Public Service Development of Instant Telecommunication Tools, which was released on Thursday, has filled in some of the blanks when it comes to information relayed using smartphones.

It is absolutely right that individuals should be able to share their opinions on all matters. But if it is an organization or even an individual that is playing the role of public information provider, the information such an organization or individual provides is covered by the new regulations.

This is because a public information provider, whether self-media or an information providing organization, must be responsible for the impact the information released has on both those who receive the information and society at large.

Pornographic information will undoubtedly negatively influence the development of youths. False information, say, about food safety or about the safety of flights will undoubtedly cause panic among the public.

In order to realize effective management of public information that can be sent and received via smartphones, the regulations require instant message service providers must require their users to register with their real names no matter what kind of moniker they prefer to go by when communicating with other users.

This is indeed necessary. With their real names registered, they will be more aware that they are responsible for whatever information they transmit or relay to others. And with the real names of service users, the service providers will be able to identify which users break the rules by sending public information that is against the rules.

When information is shared by a group of smartphone users, it is no longer in the private sphere. Unless the information is shared between individuals, it is imperative that the information providers have second thoughts about releasing harmful public information.

Such caution is not just in the interests of the information provider, but also in the interests of the public. Even without the new rules, decent people already have such awareness. The rules are therefore to prohibit those who never know where to toe the line.


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