The e-commerce group Alibaba has launched an initiative to tackle water pollution encouraging its internet users to buy testing devices from its e-commerce store and measure water quality across the country. The results can be uploaded to a digital map. Although the government hasn’t confirmed it, it is probable that it has given the green light to the initiative. Otherwise it would be difficult to imagine such a bold move from the internet giant.
Encouraging netizens to publicly denounce environmental issues seems a priori an excellent tool to detect irregularities throughout the country. However, denouncers will have to make sure the device works properly before uploading results to the web. A judicial interpretation issued last month allows the jailing of any individual who spreads rumors or makes defamatory comments online (which are reposted 500 times). Web 2.0 put to good use, hopefully.
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