I know this isn’t good news, but the cyberpunk enthusiast in me can’t help but get a little excited about China’s recent announcement that it will begin putting “Internet police” inside major Internet companies and websites in order to ensure that no fraud or “misinformation” goes down. While the government didn’t specify which companies would have to accept these cybersecurity cops, this is definitely taking China’s censorship policies to the next level.
China’s Internet cops are planning to walk the beat in person. Beijing plans to embed cybersecurity police units into major Internet companies and websites to help them prevent crimes such as fraud and “spreading of rumors,” China’s official state news service Xinhua said Tuesday. It is an unusually hands-on approach from the Chinese government, which typically sets censorship standards and puts the onus on companies to make sure they are compliant. China’s Internet regulator has previously favored tactics such as threatening to shut down services that didn’t meet censorship requirements. China’s Ministry of Public Security didn’t say which companies will have the new police units. China’s Internet sector is dominated by three companies, e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., gaming and messaging titan Tencent Holdings Ltd. and search engine Baidu Inc., all of which are publicly listed. An Alibaba spokesman said the company works with Chinese authorities to combat illegal activities online. “It is our priority to maintain the reliability and security of our platforms to protect our customers,” he said.