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Measures set to foil fake government websites

Su Zhou
Updated: Jun 8,2015 7:51 AM     China Daily

Unified logo, Internet domain expected to help users identify authorized information online.

China is strengthening the online security of e-government projects by providing an officially verified search engine and urging all government and related websites to use a unified logo and domain.

Li Qinfeng, director of the domain department at the China Organizational Name Administration Center, said in the real world, people can easily find government organs or related institutions because each of them has an official and fixed address.

“Online, it is different,” said Li. “Many fraud cases are related to phony websites of government organs or related institutions.”

The search engine, developed by China Organizational Name Administration Center and the State Commission Office of Public Sectors Reform, aims at helping people quickly identify whether a website they visit is operated by a government department.

According to Li, people can search for an official government organ or institution and verify its official website address both in English and Chinese.

By the end of May, more than 90 percent of all government and related bodies had adopted the official domain and used the unified logo. Within central government organs, 95 percent have used the unified logo, and nearly every provincial government website also has it.

From July, the State Commission Office of Public Sectors Reform and Cyberspace Administration of China will introduce further regulations to clean up those websites that are not up to standard.

Shi Wenjing, a financial auditor in Shanghai, said the major concern she has is the confusing names of organs and their websites.

“Sometimes, name of government organs or government-funded institutions can be very long and confusing. I can only run an online search for the vague name in my mind, and the search results are so similar that I cannot tell which one is the correct one,” said Shi.

“Besides a unified logo, a clearer name will also help the public find and remember the online address,” he said.

Li Yuxiao, a professor of Internet governance at Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, said government websites still face many threats, and the major concern is still phony websites.

“The government should be the one to say whether the website is official or not. Private companies cannot do the work,” said Li.

“So I think it is good to have the search engine tailored for government organs or related institutions,” he said.

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