Jun 30, 2009

Chinese computers unshackled

The Chinese government has delayed indefinitely a requirement that all personal computers sold in the country include special software designed to block pornography and anything else officials deemed unsavory.

From the New York Times:

The filtering software has been the object of furious online debate since the requirement to install it was disclosed. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, which licensed the technology from two Chinese developers, says the software automatically blocks Web surfers from seeing “unhealthy Internet content.” Updated lists of banned content are automatically downloaded onto users’ computers from the developers’ servers.

But the software’s current list of banned words, posted online by Chinese hackers, is laced with political topics. Businesses have complained that the software is so poorly designed that it opens computers not just to government snooping, but also to hacker attacks by vandals and criminals.
U.S. official protested the requirement as a violation of free-trade agreements and Chinese retailers had backlogs of pristine PCs.

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