The Supreme People’s Court has outlined the liabilities of network service providers in a document on the handling of online personal rights violation cases.
In it, the SPC calls on courts to order network service providers to provide personal data of users suspected of committing rights violations, including real names or user names, contact information and IP addresses. The information should be provided as required by investigation or at plaintiffs' requests.
"Rights violators usually hide in the dark online. They post harmful information out of the blue, and victims just can’t be certain whom they should accuse when they want to bring the case to court," said Yao Hui, a senior SPC judge specializing in civil cases.
The document is important for the country to regulate online activities and maintain online order, said SPC spokesman Sun Jungong.
According to the document, those refusing to provide the information without a legitimate reason will face punishments under the civil procedure law.
Network service providers should also be held accountable if they are aware that their users have committed online violations of personal rights but fail to take action.
Meanwhile, those re-posting content that violates others' rights and interests will also answer for their actions, and their liability will be determined based on the consequences of their posts, the online influence of re-posters, and whether they make untruthful changes to content that mislead.
"If you are a verified celebrity, your obligations when re-posting online information are greater than those of the general public. An ordinary person's errors when re-posting might only be deemed slight," Yao said.
Considering the high costs to victims when trying to safeguard their interests, the document stipulates that all expenses paid by victims to deter violators should be regarded as loss of property to be compensated for.