I don't even use the chat here much, so I don't have any idea how effective this might be. But I'm glad that someone is coming up with ideas like this.
The story is from Yahoo, http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&ncid=&e=5&u=/afp/20040609/tc_afp/britain_crime_childsex
Police to walk a virtual beat in pursuit of paedophiles
LONDON (AFP) - Police officers are to patrol the virtual world of Internet chat rooms as part of a global effort to tackle paedophiles operating on the World Wide Web, Britain's National Crime Squad (NCS) said.
Officers from law enforcement agencies around the world will roam chat rooms 24 hours a day using an icon to let users know they are there in a bid to stop the practice of Internet "grooming" of unsuspecting youngsters.
They will engage and talk to other chat room users, acting as beat officers on the Internet's virtual street, but will not be a "big brother" style presence, NCS assistant chief constable Jim Gamble said.
The NCS, a specialist force dealing with organised crime, also said it would work closely with credit card companies to crack down on pay-per-view websites showing images of child abuse.
The initiatives were announced after a three-day summit in London of the newly founded International Virtual Global Taskforce, which aims to make the Internet a safer place for children.
Gamble compared the virtual patrols with police out on the streets, only instead of uniforms they will be recognised by an internationally recognised icon that will pop up in a chat room's "who's here" box.
"If a paedophile is grooming someone online and this icon appears, how comfortable do you think they are going to feel?" Gamble said.
"Are they going to continue talking to that child in case that child says to the police officer, 'This guy that is talking to me is behaving in a very unusual way'?"
"People feel safer when police are present," he said "It's as simple as that. There is no 'big brother' initiative here. This is about reassurance through visibility."