Feeds

Chinese micro-blogs a hit with police

But Sina users urged to snitch on each other...

3 Big data security analytics techniques

China’s micro-blogging platforms are a hit with the country’s web-savvy police forces, despite being forced to implement yet more prohibitive regulations this week.

Provincial and local public security bureaus across the land are so keen on the Twitter-like weibos that the People’s Daily Online Public Opinion Monitoring Center released a table of the top ten most influential police accounts.

The University of Hong Kong-based China Media Project blog reproduced a version of the rankings, which were drawn up according to criteria including number of followers, their activity levels, and number of original posts.

For the record, top dog was @GuangzhouPublicSecurity, followed by @JinanPublicSecurity, and third came Harbin police’s optimistically-titled account, @PeacfulHarbin.

The accounts are not just a way for the forces to appear more accessible and transparent but also help them catch crooks.

Guangzhou police, for example, ran an online campaign to catch 54 of the region’s most wanted suspects, drawing in nearly 100,000 users, according to the blog.

Of course, there is a more obvious reason for the police to be active on weibos - namely to help them monitor, censor and shape public opinion. For this reason alone, the companies behind such platforms can probably rest assured they are not in any danger of being shut down.

Weibo operators have, however, been under significant pressure from the authorities over the past few months to step up self-censorship efforts.

The latest chapter came on Monday when the country’s hugely popular micro-blogging site Sina Weibo introduced new “user contracts”.

The code of conduct forbids users to do things like spread harmful rumours, call for mass gatherings or personally insult others.

Although the system did not introduce anything that wasn’t already banned by the authorities, it could be viewed – along with the recently introduced real name registration rules - as another way for the government to control what gets said online and by whom.

An accompanying points system was rolled out to ensure those breaking the rules will be deducted credits and could eventually have their account cancelled.

Interestingly, 'Weibo Credit' encourages users to report each other for breaking the rules, neatly subverting the very idea of social media.

Although the new rules have ostensibly been implemented by Sina, operator of one Weibo, on its own initiative, it’s likely the government had something to do with it , especially given the firm was singled out for unspecified punishment in the fall-out from the Bo Xilai scandal. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Whoever you vote for, Google gets in
Report uncovers giant octopus squid of lobbying influence
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.