Netwatch is a policing organization based out of London, England. Its focus is the protection of the Net Over Europe and the United States. They work closely with corporations and often fight against Netrunners.
NetWatch is a policing organization founded in 2013 in a joint US/Eurotheatre treaty, created as a part of a United Nations treaty. It worked in tandem with, and received funding from governments, corporations, and other large organizations to patrol the Net looking for illegal activity. NetCop netrunners were equipped with very powerful software to move through the Net, and would patrol specific "beats" that could cover a city, region, or continent. While arrest was the primary goal of NetWatch, it was also known to use black programs to kill or maim their opposition.
By 2077, one of NetWatch's goals included keeping people from penetrating the blackwall: a virtual wall believed to keep free A.I.s from breaking through and causing mayhem. As such, they were at odds with the Voodoo Boys, who wished to break down the blackwall with the belief that the A.I.s would help them and humanity itself.
- Main article: List of NetWatch employees
In the original Cyberpunk 2020 lore, NetWatch was formed in 2013 through a treaty between the United Nations and the World Communications Network. In Cyberpunk 2077, NetWatch had been rewritten to be a pre-existing United Kingdom security company founded in 1991, made into a worldwide policing agency through the US/Eurotheatre treaty in 2013.
- Latin date on the bottom of a NetWatch badge
- Cyberpunk 2020 p.134: "NetWatch is a policing organization designed to patrol the Net looking for illegal activity. Governments, individual corporations and other large groups contribute money, equipment and their best Netrunners to the NetWatch organization. The NetCops are equipped with very powerful software and move freely through the Net, patrolling a specific "beat" that may cover a city, Region,[sic] or even a continent.
NetCops (Wolves, Weasels, The Icemen) are equipped with very powerful tracking programs, as well as "arrest" programs that can freeze a cyberdeck in a "loop" and hold the Netrunner frozen, unable to jack out until released. While arrest and imprisonment are the goal of the NetCops, they have been known to use black programs to kill or maim their opposition."
- The World of Cyberpunk 2077 p.156: "NetWatch was formed in response to the development of the Net and the corresponding increase in the number of computer crimes. The organization started as a private company in the European Union, and slowly increased its influence to be counted among the most powerful-and secretive-organizations. NetWatch's official mission is to protect the Net against cybercriminal activity, keeping it safe for business and communication. They are in charge of locating and eliminating unlicensed or rogue intelligent systems, and arresting law-breaking netrunners. Local divisions of NetWatch are heavily financed by governments and other corporations, benefiting from a high degree of independence and top-notch equipment. Rumor has it that their operatives are well versed in conventional combat and cyberwarfare, and they have access to restricted anti-personnel and tracking software-including the infamous Black Ice.
Although NetWatch's authority is vast, it varies depending on the world region. In the United States they are free to roam, feared by cyberpunks and corporations alike as the dreaded boogeymen and Net hellhounds. In the Pacifica region, especially in Australia and New Zealand, their actions are more restricted due to local regulations."
PONDSMITH, M. Cyberpunk 2020. 2nd ed. Berkeley CA; R.Talsorian Games, 1990.
BATYLDA, M. The World of Cyberpunk 2077. 1st ed. Milwaukie, OR; Dark Horse Comics, 2020