Date
22 May 2017
Employees at the headquarters of Baidu Inc., which runs China's most popular search engine, are likely to be among the tech workers who will have police looking over their shoulders. Photo: Bloomberg
Employees at the headquarters of Baidu Inc., which runs China's most popular search engine, are likely to be among the tech workers who will have police looking over their shoulders. Photo: Bloomberg

China to install police in biggest tech firms

The Chinese government plans to embed cybersecurity police units at major internet companies and websites, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing the state-run Xinhua news agency.

The move is designed to help prevent crimes such as fraud and “spreading of rumors”,  Xinhua said Tuesday.

It is an unusually hands-on approach by Beijing, which typically sets censorship standards and puts the onus on firms to comply, the newspaper said.

The country’s internet regulator has previously favored tactics such as threatening to shut down services that didn’t meet censorship requirements.

The Ministry of Public Security didn’t say which companies will have the new police units. 

The newspaper quoted Robert Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a Washington think tank, as saying he saw two motivations behind the Chinese government’s move.

“The first is to limit free speech and exert more state control on information flows,” Atkinson said.

“But the second is to push the internet industry in China even more firmly into being fully indigenous.”

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