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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]
joined:Dec 10, 2005
I was just wondering how long it would take for someone to write a "cop-blocker"
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?
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.