Beijing Delays Mandatory Filtering Software Installation

Green Dam put on hold after international outcry

Beijing announced that it will postpone implementing the law requiring the mandatory installation of Internet filtering software known as Green Dam, on every sold in computer in China.

The unexpected decision was announced through the regime’s state run media Xinhua News Agency on June 30, one day before the plan’s scheduled starting date on July 1.

The reason given by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) is, “Some enterprises brought up the concern of large work load, short time frame and lack of preparation. Based on their real situation, the mandatory installation of the software will be postponed.”

The regime’s central propaganda department also request all propaganda offices and all mainland media to cooperate with the move by suppressing all criticism the software and providing “positive media guidance.”

Chinese students use computers at an Internet café in Hangzhou. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

Chinese students use computers at an Internet café in Hangzhou. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

MIIT announced its mandatory installation plan on May 19. MIIT insists the regime has no intention to censor information generally, and that the program was designed solely to filter pornography. However, both mainland and overseas computer experts found that Green Dam could not effective block pornography websites, but effectively targeted searches on human rights and political information such as Falun Gong and Chinese democracy.

In this poll on the Chinese regimes official BBS, Qiangguo (Power) Forum, 89 percent people were against the Green Dam plan. The poll results were subsequently deleted. ((Screen shot))

In this poll on the Chinese regime's official BBS, Qiangguo (Power) Forum, 89 percent people were against the Green Dam plan. The poll results were subsequently deleted. ((Screen shot))

Further, the software contains security loopholes that make the user vulnerable to hackers. Also, its Chinese developer may face copyrights suit from the California-based software maker Solid Oak Software Inc. for programming code plagiarism.

The proposed mandatory installation of Green Dam software widespread drew criticism from various industrial circles, rights group and foreign governments.

On June 26, 22 trade groups and business councils sent a letter to Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao urging him to drop the plan. The letter’s signatories included the U.S.-based Information Technology Industry Council (ITI); the chambers of commerce in the U.S., the European Union, and Japan.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and Trade Representative Ron Kirk also urged Beijing to abandon the plan in a letter signed June 24.

On June 16, Global Internet Freedom, a consortium formed by technology companies specializing in circumventing political censorship on Internet by repressive regimes, released its first version of “Green Tsunami,” which could help Chinese user to detect, disable or fully uninstall Green Dam.

Read this article in Chinese.

Last Updated,

Jul 1, 2009

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