24 June, 2009

China says unpopular filtering software optional

china dailyImage by doubleaf via Flickr

Late post, but this is the other side of the coin…

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05:55 AM Jun 17, 2009

BEIJING - China appeared to cave in to public pressure yesterday by announcing that computer users are not required to install Internet-filtering software - though it will still come with all PCs sold on the mainland.

When contacted, a Ministry of Industry and Information Technology official said that use of the Green Dam Youth Escort software is "not compulsory".

This apparent reversal by the government, which said the new software must be packaged with all computers sold in China beginning July 1, marked a small victory for a burgeoning anti-censorship movement in China.

The government says the software is aimed at blocking violence and pornography, but users who have tried it say it prevents access beyond those topics to discussions of homosexuality, images of comic book characters, mentions of the banned Falun Gong spiritual group and, according to Hong Kong media reports, images of pigs because the software confuses them with naked human flesh.

The official China Daily newspaper trumpeted the news on its front page, quoting an official as saying the government's role was "limited to having the software developed and providing it free''. AP

From TODAY, World – Wednesday, 17-Jun-2009; see the source article here.

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