Monday, 18 January 2010

A Taste of China Coming to the West Midlands

And I don't mean a new restaurant,* no, not a new restaurant by a long way, more like "further lessons from a police state."

I have blogged previously about china's efforts to keep it's people in ignorance and crush descent, and I'm not talking about a little yellow bloke who was a giant among men, but rather the totalitarian attempts of a totalitarian state to control the internet.

It's not my intention however to send you on a circuitous route to only end up at the article immediately below.
This Spiegel article from August 07 gives us then just a brief insight then to what life is like in a country where not only the State is your enemy and is to be greatly feared, but where every other citizen is your potential enemy and is to be equally feared.

How easily, when I read stuff like this, are evoked the words, first they came for the Jews... but no point in going down that particular road today, or any other day for that matter, because what we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history.

China to Put Cartoon Cops on Internet Patrols

Big Brother will soon be making regular appearances on the screens of Internet users in China, but the velvet fist will take the unexpected form of a cute pair of manga cartoon cops. It's almost like C.H.I.P.S. meets George Orwell's 1984 meets Murakami. The Chinese government has decided to use a pair of cartoon cops to patrol computer screens of Internet users to make sure they are abiding by strict censorship rules, and the duo will encourage others to help them by ratting out potential violators.

The man and woman cartoon crime-fighting duo will patrol the screens of Chinese Web surfers, sometimes on foot, sometimes on motorcycle, sometimes in a patrol car and sometimes -- in true Chinese style -- on bicycles.

Public officials are using the unusual policing method to remind Web surfers that their activities are under constant observation and that no deviations from explicit Chinese Internet-use restrictions will be tolerated. Particular sites of interest for this cute little cartoon dynamic duo will be pornography sites, online gaming sites and sites of political interest. more Spiegal

From here I can let Big brother Watch take over the narrative on this story which purports to be about fighting crime in Gotham City but is actually a story about the filth surfing the net looking for anti-police comments and sentiments.

I didn't see any mention of anti-police thoughts in their remit, well not yet at least.

Web Cop to Patrol Internet for Anti-Police Comments

Big Brother Watch completely missed this story when it appeared in the press last Friday (not altogether surprising given that it was given only minimal coverage in the Metro - see right - and Star), but apparently West Midlands Police are about to employ a full-time 'web cop'.

As explained by the Daily Star:

The officer will search for criticism of the police and use Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Bebo to promote the force.

Assistant Chief Constable Gordon Scobbie told Police Review yesterday: “There will be someone on the web chatting about West Midlands Police right now, about whether they have had bad service or if they have heard a rumour about guns and gangs.”

He added: “A lot of chatter is ill-informed. We need to be much smarter about identifying these conversations so we can join in and influence what people think.”

How can this possibly be a good use of a policeman's time? The force will no doubt defend it by saying the 'web cop' will also look out for criminal activity online;....more

There are some interesting comments there, there's even a Chief Inspector saying, and this may come as a surprise, "Trust me, I'm a Policeman."

A comment from "Richard."

If the Web Cop from West Midlands Police is reading this, they should know that if they want to improve the image of the police in the UK, they should stop arguing with people on the Internet about their opinions and instead focus on persuading their organisation to return to a minimalist policing-by-consent approach.

If they want to find out why nobody trusts the police any more they need only look as far as current police tactics and behaviour: surveillance-powered fishing expeditions (ANPR); indiscriminate abuse of Section 44 stop-and-search powers; abuse of photographers in public places; invention of laws that don't exist; collection of DNA samples from everyone they come into contact with; shooting dead of innocent people; beating up or illegally detaining protesters; compiling intrusive databases of anyone who shows dissent and referring to them as Domestic Terrorists...

Here's a message for any police officers out there to take back to their superiors: get out of our faces and let us get on with our lives.

Mr Twitchell remembers every detail of what was done to him by members of the West Midlands squad. "Somebody put this bag over my head and it was clamped tight around my mouth and eyes. I remember struggling and heaving but then I must have gone unconscious," he said. (Trust Me I'm a West Midlands Serious Crime Squad Officer. By way of coincidence.)

*Off topic, Chinese restaurant.

h/t Ironside