Karl Zhang and Teresa Huang
On June 27, 2022, the Cyberspace Administration of China issued the Provisions on the Management of Internet Users’ Account Information (hereinafter referred to as the “Provisions”), which comes into effect on August 1, 2022. The main contents of the Provisions are as follows:
1. General Provisions
The Provisions shall apply to the registration, use and management of Internet users’ account information by Internet users in the Internet information service providers located within the territory of the People’s Republic of China, unless laws and administrative regulations provide otherwise. The Cyberspace Administration of China and local cyberspace administrations are responsible for the supervision and management of Internet users’ account information across the country and within their administrative regions respectively.
2. Registration and Use of Account Information
(1) Service agreement and real name authentication
An Internet information service provider shall enter into a service agreement with each Internet user to clarify the rights and obligations related to the registration, use and management of account information. An Internet service provider providing users with services such as information release and instant messaging shall authenticate the real identity information on users applying for registration based on mobile phone numbers, ID numbers, or unified social credit codes, etc. Relevant services shall not be provided for users that do not provide real identity information or that falsely use organizations and others’ identity information for false registration.
The occupational information, if any, in individual Internet users’ registration and use of account information shall be consistent with their real occupational information, and institutional Internet users’ information in their registration and use of accounts shall be consistent with their names and logos, etc., and conform to the nature, business scope and industry type of the users.
(2) Internet users shall not publish illegal information
During their registration and use of account information, Internet users shall not counterfeit, imitate or fabricate the names or logos, among others, of legal persons, unincorporated organizations or international organizations, etc. The information related to Internet users’ registration and use of accounts shall not contain any illegal information prohibited by laws and administrative regulations or any content that may cause adverse effects on network ecology, such as containing exaggerated and other content that may cause misleading among the public.
(3) Display of user information
Internet information service providers shall display on the Internet user account information pages the Internet Protocol (IP) address attribution information of the Internet user accounts within a reasonable range to facilitate the public to implement supervision for the public interest. Internet information service providers shall display on the Internet user public account information pages the operating entity, registered operating address, content production category, unified social credit code, effective contact information, Internet Protocol (IP) address attribution information of the public accounts.
3. Management of Account Information
Internet information service providers shall fulfill the subject responsibility for the management of Internet users’ account information, equipped themselves with professional staff and technical capabilities appropriate to the scale of the services, and establish and improve the relevant management system.
If any Internet information service provider find any Internet user’s registration or use of account information in violation of laws, administrative regulations and the Provisions, it shall, in accordance with the applicable laws and agreements, take disposal measures such as giving a warning reminder, ordering to make corrections within a time limit, restricting account functions, suspending the use of account, closing the account, prohibiting re-registration, etc., save the relevant records, and promptly report to cyberspace administrations and other competent departments.
4. Legal Liability
If any Internet information service provider violates the Provisions, it shall be punished in accordance with the relevant laws and administrative regulations. If there are no relevant provisions in laws and administrative regulations, the cyberspace administrations at the provincial level or above shall impose the penalties such as giving a warning, issuing a notice of criticism, and ordering to make correction with a time limit on it in accordance with their duties, and may impose a fine between RMB10,000 and RMB100,000 on it. If the violation constitutes an act that violates the public security regulations, the case shall be handed over to the public security authority for disposition; if the violation constitutes a crime, the case shall be transferred to a judicial organ for handling.