Internet service providers in Japan are apparently monitoring users and alerting police when suicidal messages are transmitted over their networks.

A total of 91 people committed suicide in 34 Internet-related incidents across Japan last year, but police managed to prevent several potential victims from killing themselves by cooperating with Internet service providers, it has been learned.

Police began cooperating with Internet service providers in October last year, based on guidelines created by an organization on Oct. 5.

Under the cooperation system, Internet providers hand the names and addresses of people who post suicide-related messages on the Internet in emergencies.

Is this good, bad, or indifferent? By my understanding there's nothing that prevents American IPSs from doing the same thing. For that matters, ISPs could pro-actively alert police to all sorts of potential crimes, were they so inclined.

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