Mandatory loading of cyber porn filter delayed | Shanghai Daily

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Mandatory loading of cyber porn filter delayed

CHINA said yesterday that it will delay the mandatory installation of its controversial pornography filtering software on new computers, hours before the policy was due to start.

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said the pre-installation was postponed as some computer producers said such a massive change demanded extra time.

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

All computers produced or sold in China were scheduled to have the Green Dam-Youth Escort software installed starting today, according to an earlier order from the ministry.

The spokesman said the ministry will continue to provide free downloads of the software and equip school and Internet bar computers with it.

The Green Dam plan is designed to stamp out Internet violence and pornography to protect minors as well as to help parents control how much time their children spend online.

The software can be easily switched off or uninstalled by computer users, and it will not record the online activities of users or collect any information about users, the spokesman reaffirmed.

Accusations that the software was an invasion of privacy and would block information are "groundless" and "irresponsible," he said.

Developers of Green Dam have modified the software as technical problems were revealed during earlier promotion. The developers will continue to improve the software with service packs and upgrades, the spokesman said.

The procurement of the filtering software is "an act for public good" and is in line with regulations of the World Trade Organization, the spokesman said.

The ministry did not mention when the pre-installation requirement would resume.

Companies including Toshiba Corp and Taiwan-based Acer said they were ready to provide Green Dam on a disk with personal computers beginning today. But industry leaders Hewlett-Packard Inc and Dell Inc have avoided making public commitments.

China encourages Internet use for education and business, and the country has the world's biggest population of Web users, with more than 298 million.

Last week, the Health Ministry ordered health-related Websites that carry research on sexually oriented topics to allow access only to medical professionals.

Also last week, the government issued new rules on "virtual currency" used by some game Websites, saying it cannot be used to purchase real goods.




 

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