In what Chinese experts called a milestone for online identity security and privacy, China's first batch of 50,000 electronic identity chips for smartphones were issued by a small city government in East China's Jiangxi Province, a local newspaper reported on Sunday.
In cooperation with the Third Research Institute of the Ministry of Public Security, the city of Gongqingcheng held a ceremony for a chip less than 0.19 millimeters thick that attaches to the phone user's SIM card, New Legal Report reported on Sunday.
The SIM eID represented a milestone for the development of online identity, the Jiangxi-based newspaper reported.
When conducting transactions with a SIM eID, the user need not provide personal information - name, address, phone number and identity card number - as the relevant online platform would instantly verify the eID instead, said the report.
A secure online identity is embedded in the smart security chip, said Qin An, head of the Institute of China Cyberspace Strategy.
The eID offered greater convenience for daily life, lowered the risk of identity theft and protected privacy, online transactions and virtual property, he said.
"People's daily life relies heavily on the internet as we have entered the internet era," Qin said. "Online transactions are normal, which makes the security of personal information an important issue."
Personal information leakage has become a serious problem in the internet era.
According to incomplete statistics, some 6.5 billion pieces of Chinese residents' personal information were leaked in 2016, the People's Daily reported.
The embedded eID must be authorized by the ministry and relies on smart security chip and encryption technology, New Legal Report quoted Leng Lu from the ministry research institute as saying.
The eID could also be used in regulating the migrant population, Ye Guobing, Communist Party chief of Jiangxi's provincial police college, who attended the ceremony on Sunday, was quoted as saying by New Legal Report.
The eID "lays the foundation of management of internet society," Ye said, and could "help regulate the population in cyberspace."