China postpones mandatory installation of controversial filtering software 2009-06-30 20:06:06   Print

    BEIJING, June 30 (Xinhua) -- China will delay the mandatory installation of the controversial "Green Dam-Youth Escort" filtering software on new computers, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) said here Tuesday.

    The pre-installation was postponed as some computer producers said such massive installation demanded extra time, said the ministry.

    "The ministry would keep on soliciting opinions to perfect the pre-installation plan," a spokesman with MIIT said.

    All computers produced or sold in China were scheduled to be installed with such software after July 1, according to MIIT's previous announcement.

    The ministry would continue to provide a free download of the software and equip school and Internet bar computers with it after July 1, said the spokesman.

    The software is designed to block violence and pornographic contents on the Internet to protect minors. It could also help parents control how much time their children spend online.

    However, the ministry did not mention when the pre-installation requirement would resume its effect.


    Although the pre-installation plan had aroused much controversy, MIIT defended its plan as a safe, legal and trustworthy one.

    The pre-installation would not be compulsory, as the software could be easily switched off and uninstalled by computer users, the spokesman reaffirmed.

    It would not collect the online activities of users or collect any information about users, he said.

    Accusations of the software's privacy invasion and blocking information flow, which had been raised by a few overseas media and institutions, is "groundless" and "irresponsible," he said.

    Developers of the "Green Dam," greatly concerned over software security, had also modified the software as technical problems had been revealed during earlier promotion. They will continue to improve the software with services packs and upgrades, said the spokesman.

    The spokesman also mentioned that the government procurement procedure of the software had complied with China's Government Procurement Law, which was open, fair, transparent, non-exclusive, and under strict supervision.

    The procurement of such filtering software is "an act for public good", and is in line with regulations of the World Trade Organization (WTO).


    The software, however, had already gained much popularity among parents, according to Zhao Huiqin, president of Jinhui Computer System Engineering Co. Ltd., developer of "Green Dam."

    "There had been a geometric growth in Green Dam users this month," she said, pointing out that they had seen an average of more than 100,000 users registering the software per day, while the highest daily level had reached over 400,000.

    Statistics from MIIT showed that the software had been downloaded 7.17 million times from the company's Web site by the end of last month, and 2.62 million computers in schools across the country, as well as 4.7 million ones in Internet bars, had been protected by "Green Dam".

    A business man surnamed Zhou, who lives in China's southeastern Hangzhou City and has a pupil at home, registered for the software a week ago.

    "Now I am at ease when my kid surfs on the Internet," he told Xinhua, as "Green Dam" had shut down most of the pornographic and other unpleasant contents in the past week.

    The software could prevent 90 percent of improper content from the Internet, according to a third-party evaluation, said MIIT.

    "I have read quite some negative reports on the software, but I need to take my child into consideration," Zhou said.

Reactions mixed over plan to filter Net access in China

    BEIJING, June 27 (Xinhua) -- Should every computer in China be installed with a filter software? And should the government make a decision before making the software known to the public and listening to their views?

    Heated debates have arisen since the government said earlier this month that all computers sold in China would have to include software packages for filtering out online pornography. Full story

"Green Dam" developers harassed by threat calls

    ZHENGZHOU, June 24 (Xinhua) -- The head of a software company in central China's Henan Province said Wednesday that his company had been harassed by hacker attacks and threat calls because of its controversial product - the Internet filter software "Green Dam".

    Zhang Chenmin, general manager of Jinhui Computer System Engineering Co based in Zhengzhou City, which won the bid to develop the "Green Dam-Youth Escort" last year, told Xinhua that his company has had more than 1,000 harassing calls and even death threats since early this month.  Full story

Porn-filtering software: It's up to users

    BEIJING, June 16 -- Computer makers are required to include a government-sponsored porn-filtering software but it is up to buyers to decide whether they want to use it, an official said Monday.

    "PC makers are only required to save the setup files of the program in the hard drives of the computers, or provide CD-ROMs containing the program with their PC packages," an official at the department of software service in the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), who spoke on condition of anonymity, told China Daily Monday.  Full story

Editor: Fang Yang
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