The Chinese policy that will require PC makers to provide a government-mandated Green Dam-Youth Escort Internet pornography filter will go into effect July 1 despite pressure from the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.
PC makers are either required to pre-install software or provide it on a CD with the purchase of new computers.
The purpose of the software is “shielding and filtering the Internet [sic] such as pornography, obscenity and violent messages,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Quin Gang.
In a joint letter U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk urged the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology to revoke the new filter policy.
“China is putting companies in an untenable position by requiring them, with virtually no public notice, to pre-install software that appears to have broad-based censorship implications and network security issues,” Locke said.
News agencies such as the Epoch Times have also raised concerns about the extent of the filtering.
The privately owned media outlet from New York has an entire section of their newspaper and Web site devoted to China. In an article the Epoch Times reported that Chinese hackers had broken the code on the new program revealing extensive efforts to censor the Internet.
“According to the information produced by these hackers, Green Dam has 2,700 keywords relating to pornography and 6,500 politically sensitive keywords.” The pornography filter is more set to screen out anti-Chinese government Web searches rather than protect children from pornography.
Additionally, members of the Computer Science and Engineering Division of the University of Michigan conducted an analysis of the program.
“Once Green Dam is installed, any Web site the user visits can exploit these programming problems to take control of the computer. This could allow malicious sites to steal private data, send spam or enlist the computer in a botnet,” according to the analysis.
“China’s Internet is open.” Gang said. “The Chinese Government will actively work to promote the healthy development of the Internet, but the Chinese government must . . . aim to avoid damaging the public information spread on the Internet.”