China Demands All New PCs Include Censorship Software

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The Chinese government takes the threat of unfettered Internet access seriously. China's "Great Firewall" blocked access to reports about the 20th anniversary of the 1989 Tianamen Square massacre last week. Although some users bypassed the blocks by using proxy servers, China's upped the ante: The Australian reports that China is requiring that all new PCs sold in China starting July 1st must include website blocking software developed in China.

The software's Chinese name is "Green Dam-Youth Escort". The word "green" in Chinese is used to describe web-surfing free from pornography and other illicit content.
The software was developed by Jinhui Computer System Engineering, with input from Beijing Dazheng Human Language Technology Academy. Both companies have ties to China's military and its security ministry. Jinhui says Green Dam operates similarly to software in other countries designed to let parents block access to web content inappropriate for children.
Foreign industry officials who have examined Green Dam say that personal information could be transmitted through the software and that it will be difficult for users to tell what exactly is being blocked.
Green Dam-Youth Escort can be preinstalled on systems sold in China, or be bundled with systems sold there. Although the developer states that the software contains a password-based parental bypass feature and can be uninstalled, one wonders if China will allow web access if the software is not active. Will the biggest PC vendors in the Chinese market (second only to the US market in sales last year) push back against this requirement, or will July 1st see the "Great Firewall" become even harder to crack? Hit Comment to post your feedback.
Image adapted from Wikimedia Commons image .

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