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China creates animated police force for the Internet

04 September, 2007
By Allison Orr

Authorities in China are taking a novel approach to remind web surfers that they are being monitored.  A virtual police force will soon start patrolling the web using animated officers that will pop up on a user’s browser, warning them to stay away from illegal content.

The animated officers, who walk, bike or drive across the screen, will pop up every 30 minutes on websites operated by 13 major portals based in Beijing and by the end of the year will be on all websites hosted on Beijing-based servers.  Users will be able to click on the character to connect to the Internet surveillance centre to ask for help, offer suggestions or report any suspicious activities.

"It is our duty to wipe out information that does public harm and disrupts social order," the bureau's deputy chief of Internet surveillance, Zhao Hongzhi, was quoted as saying.

Information that they consider harmful includes content that may incite secession, promote superstition, gambling, fraud and pornography.  Other content is also subject to censoring, and the filtering regime in China has become known as the Great Firewall of China.

You can see see a picture of the cute friendly cyber police at the China Daily article.

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