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Who Exactly is China's New Blockchain ID Protecting Citizens From?

RealDID, a new platform launched by Chinese authorities, allows citizens to surf the web without ever revealing their real identity.

China BSN RealDID

Chinese citizens can now interact with websites without revealing any personal details thanks to a new decentralized identity network announced on December 12 by the Chinese blockchain-based service network (BSN) and the Ministry of Public Security.

The new platform is called RealDID and will act as an intermediary identity verification network between users and online businesses, granting users control of privacy, protection against security threats, and control over their digital identities. At the same time, it takes the task of verifying user identity and meeting know-your-customer standards off the shoulders of businesses.

"It provides 'authoritative, safe, credible and convenient' unified network identity authentication services to all walks of life in society, playing an important role in many fields such as government affairs and people's livelihood, transportation, medical health, financial services, digital communications and so on."

The platform, available to anyone who wants to add an extra layer of protection to their online presence, gives each user a "BSN real-name DID" while guaranteeing that all information will be kept private due to a data encrypted transfer service and a privacy protection login service.

If different websites share user data between themselves, the system guarantees citizens' anonymity and gives users control over how much and what type of information is shared.

"Users can choose to disclose different personal information to different business platforms, so that the business platform only needs to obtain necessary and minimized information, which greatly enhances the ability to protect personal privacy and data security."

According to the official announcement, RealDID will play an important role in meeting the digital identity requirements of the new "Web3 era."

"The combination of blockchain infrastructure and digital identity distributed infrastructure plays an important role in serving the development of the digital economy and supporting the circulation of national data elements."

The identity network concerns privacy experts as it will likely be used to implement and expand the Chinese "social credit" system. A blockchain-based platform dramatically improves the monitoring capacities of the moral ranking system, allowing it to perfect the art of ranking and punishing citizens according to their actions.

At the European Parliament session yesterday, members came forward with their concerns over human rights abuses in China, stressing the "repression of all dissenting and opposition voices" that regularly happens through the country's social media networks, which are strictly supervised by the state.

While RealDID might protect users from bad and data exploitive actors, it also limits the ability to act anonymously online, further exposing Chinese citizens to the relentless eye of Big Brother.