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China : Virtual Cops to patrol the web warning users to avoid illegal content.

Main Chinese Portals to start Sept 1, other registered sites to follow.

     
8:29 am on Aug 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

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BEIJING - Police in China's capital said Tuesday they will start patrolling the Web using animated beat officers that pop up on a user's browser and walk, bike or drive across the screen warning them to stay away from illegal Internet content.

Starting Sept. 1, the cartoon alerts will appear every half hour on 13 of China's top portals, including Sohu and Sina, and by the end of the year will appear on all Web sites registered with Beijing servers, the Beijing Public Security Ministry said in a statement.

AP/ Yahoo News [news.yahoo.com]

apparently it's not new concept
From China Digital Times [chinadigitaltimes.net]

[edited by: encyclo at 1:33 pm (utc) on Aug. 29, 2007]
[edit reason] fixed quote [/edit]

9:02 am on Aug 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

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They'll probably use that floating advertisement technology we see so much on Chinese websites. I wonder whether they'll try to make this impervious to ad blocking technology.

Woz

9:18 am on Aug 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I was just wondering how long it would take for someone to write a "cop-blocker", I imagine it won't take long.

One also has to wonder just how long the Authorities think they can stem the tide.

Onya
Woz

10:09 am on Aug 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Will these digital cops be able to see things? Will they encourage users to only feel safe when accessing foreign servers (no cops)?
10:17 am on Aug 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

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No, the article states that they're there for the purpose of intimidation. They're supposed to remind surfers that big brother is indeed watching.
10:40 am on Aug 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Them being present on all sites hosted on Beijing servers does suggest that it will create a negative/unsafe impression of those sites when compared to external sites. i.e. creating a false sense of security when accessing foreign-hosted websites (there are no cops, hence there is no monitoring?)
3:38 pm on Aug 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I was just wondering how long it would take for someone to write a "cop-blocker"

Or how long before someone develops an animated "shoot the cop" application that gives users a Doom-like interface to shoot (or throw virtual Molotov cocktails at) the cop to disable the cop animation?

The the police have to upgrade their program, giving the cop virtual armor. Which causes the anti-cop programmers to upgrade their weaponry. The the police will add multiple cop avatars to try to overwhelm the anti-cop programs (think the 2nd & 3rd Matrix movies). Finally, the anti-cop programs will just have a smart bomb or tactical nuke option to wipe all the cops out.

Or even more fun, hackers can write programs that change the cop's appearance. How long will the police continue with this if all the computers show cops walking around with superimposed heads of the Dalai Lama?

11:46 am on Aug 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Just the link to this animation is going to give the police information on every single visitor to those websites, from whatever country they visit or using whatever proxy. They may not show the graphic outside China, but they will still be able to log IP addresses, set cookies, etc.
12:04 pm on Aug 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Hey, I've got an idea - the U.S.A. should HELP China suppress their people... wah ha ha

Oh wait, we're already doing that. Thank you Cisco, Microsoft, Yahoo and Google, for championing the freedom rights of others, the same ones that you enjoy daily and take for granted.

Idea: The Google logo guy will draw the cop animation, Yahoo will serve it up via it's "smart ads" system, Cisco will insert it into every packet routed, and Microsoft will make sure to send an "error report" ;) if someone tries to disable it.

...

12:11 pm on Aug 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

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> I was just wondering how long it would take for someone to write a "cop-blocker"

> Or how long before someone develops an animated "shoot the cop" application

Or how long before the police really shoot back...

12:47 pm on Aug 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Those subtle reminders are enough to keep most people in line when you live it every day.

Next is a taser-capable mouse for every surfer to use...

12:52 pm on Aug 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

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--Or how long before the police really shoot back... --

There were various malware programs on the Amiga and Atari ST home computers in the late 1980s which were able to tell the computer to send a certain voltage to any connected peripherals, possibly frying them in the process.

I wonder if that's still possible on modern PCs...

2:35 pm on Aug 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I am sure glad I don't live there. That is pathetic. How can you have an educated society and try to block them off from the world like a parent with a child? Sad thing is, if Hillary gets the Presidency in 2008, we'll have the same thing, HAHA. Could you imagine Hillary's mug bicycling across your computer telling you not to dig into Bill's records? LOL.
3:42 pm on Aug 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Those subtle reminders are enough to keep most people in line when you live it every day.

I haven't been to mainland China since the late 80's, but I know people who've been there recently. Even with all the economic reforms, certain things haven't changed, namely:

The "police" (actually, just units of the People's Liberation Army), still wander the streets in packs of 4 or more carrying AK-47s.

Arrests for political crimes tend to happen quietly, in the middle of the night, when the neighbours aren't watching.

Just about any crime can carry the death penalty, and the death penalty is frequently applied to crimes with the word "corruption" attached to them.

As a result, the population has become adept at figuring out where the line in the sand is, and staying on the right side of it. The little cop animation will remind people where the line in the sand is.

4:27 pm on Sept 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

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yes..
now china webmaster feel sad.....
6:20 pm on Sept 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Good grief! Remind me never to go to any Chinese website. This is why I am thankful I live in the USA. We might have some rediculous laws, but my browser does what its supposed to do.
2:56 am on Sept 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

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As I see it they're not doing anything here to impede browsing. It's just an advertisement that will pop up periodically to remind web-surfers about the law.
4:03 am on Sept 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

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As I see it they're not doing anything here to impede browsing. It's just an advertisement that will pop up periodically to remind web-surfers about the law.

I am afraid it's not true, dear Bill. One of my friend's servers in Shanghai is shut down for the on-going internet inspection.
5:31 am on Sept 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

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The original article is only about this animated police graphic. That's nothing more than banner ad technology.

That's not to say that the Chinese internet isn't monitored by the authorities. I know it is. It's just that this little graphic isn't doing it. ;)

One of my friend's servers in Shanghai is shut down for the on-going internet inspection.

There was a big problem in Shanghai yesterday at the Shanghai Telecom's servers. Many of the virtual hosting servers were simply turned off. I had to relocate some sites because of that as well. I heard that a lot of sites were affected.