The Futility of Positively Identifying Commenters


google in china

Image by El Tipo Gráfico via Flickr

A recent NY Times article discusses the Chinese order for Web sites to register and post comments using their true identities. Of course, in a totalitarian regime (are we calling China that these days?) identity is a tool that the state uses to control dissent and it's clear that's what's behind this.

This article caught my attention because of the attention that SideWiki has been getting this week. John Gillmore said "The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it." SideWiki is an example of how what China's attempting is ultimately going to fail. Of course, China might put pressure on Google and get SideWiki limited in some way inside China, or even just block it. But China's never going to be able to block all the ways that people can link up comments and news.