Green Dam postponed

Chinese government has postponed its mandate that manufacturers embed Web-filtering software in all new PCs sold in the China, in the wake of intense opposition inside and outside China.

The Chinese government has said the purpose of implementing the Web-filtering software is to prevent youngsters from viewing online pornography and other “harmful content,” and it insists that the software “definitely has no capability for collecting users’ information or monitoring their Internet behavior.” In China, “green” is a term used for online content free from pornography and other illicit material.

The Xinhua news agency quoted a Ministry of Industry and Information Technology representative as saying that some PC makers claimed they did not have sufficient time to meet the July 1 deadline, in which case a delay was permissible.

Isaac Mao with Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society says the Chinese initiative “has lost legitimacy” and that the government’s enforcement of the rule would be impossible. There also are indications that the plan has broadened public interest in China regarding questions about government inquisitiveness and censorship.

Some critics said the plan appeared to be aimed at extending the government’s massive Internet censorship into people’s homes and offices, and others worried it could expose PCs to hackers or cause technical problems. Researchers who studied the software found evidence that it blocked a range of content including sites covering sensitive political issues.

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