The Internet is extremely vast, virtually limitless. This fact makes cyberspace starkly different from the physical world, particularly when it comes to crime, and begs the question: Can a government successfully regulate the Internet? According to Shanghai police, the number of online crimes in China is growing quickly as online traffic increases, and shopping and entertainment websites flourish. Last year, authorities handled more than 4,700 Internet-related crimes. Many of these online criminals spread pornographic information, sell contraband, or conduct online fraud. Yi Shenghua, a Beijing lawyer from Ying Ke Law Firm, believes that it is much more difficult for the police to find and collect evidence for crimes performed via the Internet because they can be committed anywhere; there are no boundaries. Lu Weidong, deputy chief of Shanghai Police Bureau, stated that “Cyber crime is no longer a high-tech crime exclusive to technical professionals. Internet users can use entry-level hacking software and become a real threat on the network platform.” When asked how the Shanghai police department would combat this increase in cyber crime, Lu responded that they will increase regulation of every website in order “to scrutinize illegal conduct, similar to how police officers patrol communities in real life.” Considering the great expanse of the Internet and the Chinese government’s reputation for extensive cyber monitoring, whether or not their efforts prove successful is uncertain.
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