Ministry steps down on cyber porn filter | Shanghai Daily

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August 14, 2009

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Ministry steps down on cyber porn filter

CHINA'S top industry regulator said yesterday that authorities have all but abandoned their plan to require all newly sold computers to carry controversial software that blocks Internet pornography.

The Green Dam Youth Escort Internet filtering system will no longer be mandatory for ordinary buyers of personal computers. But public venues such as schools and Internet cafes must still install it, said Li Yizhong, head of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

"It's not a good idea to make it mandatory considering the situation now," Li said during a conference yesterday in Beijing. He did not give detailed reasons for scaling back the program.

The plan for all new computers to be equipped by July 1 with Green Dam was announced in June by the ministry. But later that month, the government delayed the plan indefinitely.

Green Dam, developed by the Zhengzhou-based Jinhui Computer System Engineering Co, caused widespread controversy after concerns were raised over security loopholes, negative effects on computer performance and its intrusion into personal privacy.

Even so, some PC makers, including Acer, Lenovo and Haier, are shipping Green Dam on disks with products sold in China. It was not clear whether they would continue to do so.

"We need to evaluate the situation after communicating with authorities," said Guo Tongyan, a spokesman for Lenovo, China's biggest PC maker.

The government's only goal for Green Dam was to prevent "obscene material" from "poisoning the young," Li said.

The program can block 90 percent of all pornographic content, and the developer is still working to improve it, the minister added.

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