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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

China’s New Cop Avatars

People almost universally hate little avatars popping up on the screen and getting in the way, while only superficially pretending to be helpful. The Microsoft office paper clip is probably the most well-known member of this species. Soon we might add another member to this group of avatars, as the Associated Press via Yahoo News reports:

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.

China stringently polices the Internet for material and content that the ruling Communist Party finds politically or morally threatening. (...)

The animated police appeared designed to startle Web surfers and remind them that authorities closely monitor Web activity.

Will we see those cops on some of Google’s properties as well in the future? is already registered with the Chinese authorities, bearing the Internet Content Provider badge on their homepage.

Keywords: Cute, Manga, Oppression, Big Brother.

[Thanks Manoj Nahar! Image by Beijing Police via AP.]


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