China Unleashes Web Cops

Cute caricatures will pop up, steer users clear of risqué content
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 28, 2007 3:43 PM CDT
In this image released Tuesday Aug. 28, 2007 by the Beijing Public Security Bureau, shown is cartoon figures of "virtual police". Police in Beijing said Tuesday they will soon begin patrolling the web...   (Associated Press)

(Newser) – Beijing police have an answer for Internet users who might be tempted to gamble or watch the Paris Hilton sex video: an animated officer who moves across your screen in a virtual car, motorcycle or on foot while admonishing you to steer clear of illegal content. The cartoon alerts will appear every half-hour on China’s 13 main portals starting Sept. 1, the AP reports.

The cyber-officers are apparently designed to remind users that Big Brother does, indeed, have a virtual eye on them. China routinely patrols the Internet for content that the Communist Party deems offensive or subversive, but nudity, profanity, and gambling, as well as pirated music, books and film, are still widely available.