Tuesday, June 9, 2009

More Bull in China’s Shop

There’s more from the country that’s bent Google and Microsoft to its will, forcing them to help censor the Internet, and that even apparently got Yahoo to provide information that led to the torture and imprisonment of dissidents. This time, not satisfied with censoring those services (and YouTube, Twitter and Flickr as well), and perhaps frustrated at the imperfect filtering provided by the nationwide system referred to as “the Great Firewall of China,” the Chinese government is requiring all PC’s sold in that country to come with filtering software, called “Green Dam Youth Escort.” The rule takes effect in three weeks, though how it could possibly be implemented so soon is unclear.

The Chinese claim the software is just intended to block pornography, notwithstanding that the name itself sounds like a child prostitution service. “Green Dam” is apparently is the Chinese term for porn-free web surfing, but “Youth Escort” has a dubious ring. In any case, the claimed limited scope seems unlikely, given China’s approach to information freedom, which is generally to eliminate it everywhere except in the Special Administrative Regions, i.e., Hong Kong and Macau.

The story was first reported by the Wall Street Journal (and a follow up) and appears in the New York Times as well.

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