China: Green dam PC filtering

According to Wall Street Journal (June 8, 2009), the Chinese government has required international PC makers to equip their PC shipped to China with filter software from July 1 onward.

The new software, known as ‘Green Dam-Youth Escort', would link PCs with an updated database of banned sites and block access to those addresses. Such kind of control could give government censors unprecedented control over how Chinese users access the Internet.

The government says the effort is aimed at protecting young people from ‘harmful’ content. However, foreign industry officials who have examined Green Dam say that personal information could be transmitted through the software and that it will be difficult for users to tell what exactly is being blocked. Moreover, the software could cause PCs in China to malfunction, and could make them more vulnerable to hacking.

In the past, the internet censorship practices operate mainly at the ISP, data center and content provider levels, netizens can access blocked sites by proxy servers. The ‘Green Dam’ software is a new monitoring mode.

Full report at WSJ.

Rebecca MacKinnon pointed (via twitter) to the official website of ‘Green Dam-Youth Escort’ [zh]where you can download the software.

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