US: China's Internet filter mandate should be 'revoked'

Chinese kids use computers in an Internet cafe in southwest China's Sichuan province. The US spoke out against a new requirement that personal computers sold in China carry a software that filters online content.

Just a week before China imposes a nationwide Internet filter, the US government came out against the looming mandate.

On July 1, all computers sold within China must come with special software that can cut off access to questionable online material. The program, called “Green Dam-Youth Escort,” aims to protect kids from stumbling upon violent, pornographic, homosexual, or drug-related websites and images.

However, the US government wants China to rethink the sweeping measure.

"We would like to see the Green Dam mandate revoked, and will continue efforts to convince Chinese authorities to do so," a US official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity. "We hope that China will look at the broad array of concerns that the Green Dam mandate has prompted from its own citizens, from global PC companies, and from other governments, and revoke this measure."

Bryan Zhang, head of Jinhui Computer System Engineering, also stressed that his company designed Green Dam's so that parents could adjust the settings, but not remove websites from the official black list.

Such controls are still troubling, says the US embassy in China, because it "views with concern any attempt to restrict the free flow of information."

At the University of Michigan, a team worries that Green Dam has "major security vulnerabilities" that "will significantly weaken China’s computer security" because of faulty programming. More on that here.


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