In case you have not heard, the Chinese government is requiring that all manufacturers of PCs being shipped to China be preinstalled with a software package designed to filter pornography and other content called “Green Dam” which is produced by Jinhui Computer System Engineering,
According to Zhang Chenming, general manager of Jinhui Computer System Engineering, the concerns of Green Dam are overstated. He claims the software simply blocks pornography and can be deleted or turned off by the PC owners at any time.
Other sources outside of China are concerned that it is an effort for China’s government to take tighter control over the internet. Some suggest the software may actually allow the Chinese government to spy on the Internet user and tightly control content. I am not sure if this is true but it certainly seems highly likely given their recent actions in bringing down Youtube, Google and other social media sites and blogs during the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square incident.
According to the Wall Street Journal and other publications, PCs manufactured in China have already complied with the mandate and have preinstalled Green Dam. These include PCs manufactured by Lenovo, Inspur and Hedy.
U.S. based computer manufacturers such as Dell and Hewlett-Packard are confused and are not sure exactly what to do at this stage. The mandate is for all PCs to have the software preinstalled as of July 1 of this year.
All I can say (and will say) is I hope Dell and the others examine the software more closely to determine exactly how it might be used against the citizens of China before they blindly install the software on their PCs. If in fact it is like Mr. Chenming has stated, then fine. If not, then we must be concerned with its intent and how it might be used to harm or oppress the citizens of China.
To read more on this topic there are several recent links to the NY Times, Reuters and the WSJ you might wish to consider:
NY Times Article: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/09/world/asia/09china.html
Reuters Article: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE5590ZX20090610
WSJ Article: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124464392279802213.html