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PC makers include filtering software for China sales

24 июля 2009

Some Asian personal-computer makers have begun to include China's Green Dam Web-filtering software in products shipped to Chinese customers, even after Chinese government officials last month indefinitely delayed efforts to make the software mandatory in the face of industry and international opposition.

Taiwan-based Acer Inc., the world's third-largest PC vendor by shipments, said it started shipping computers bundled with CD-ROMs that contained Green Dam this month. Acer said it was complying with requests from government officials that it make the software available, even if they weren't making it a requirement.

"This is based on the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology's request," said Meng Lei, an Acer spokeswoman.

Asustek Computer Inc., another major PC maker based in Taiwan, said it has been including Green Dam disks with its products sold in China since July 1. An Asustek spokesman said the company is complying despite the delay because it believes the requirement will eventually go into effect.

Lenovo Group, the No. 4 computer maker and China's biggest, is also voluntarily including the software on PCs sold in China, giving customers the option to activate the software."It is entirely up to the customer to install Green Dam or not as they choose," a spokesman for Lenovo said."We are complying with the law and continue to monitor the situation as it evolves."

China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology notified PC makers in late May that they would be required to ship filtering software called Green Dam-Youth Escort with all computers sold in China. The notice said the software's purpose was to keep children from viewing harmful content on the Internet, and that it would be required starting July 1.

But when the notice was made public in early June, Chinese consumers, foreign industry associations and U.S. officials criticized it, saying the regulation was unreasonable and appeared to be a move by the government to further regulate Internet use in China.

Through their representative industry associations, the world's largest PC vendors complained to the Chinese government, which eventually announced that the companies could delay their compliance with the measure until further notice.

Other computer makers have since avoided the software. Sony Corp., which started selling computers with Green Dam as early as June, said it had stopped the practice. It had been pre-installing the software on computers, though customers could choose not to activate it.

Distributors for Hewlett-Packard Co. and Dell Inc. said Green Dam hasn't been included in any of the computers they sold.

For the companies, China is crucial. It is the second-largest PC market in the world by shipments after the U.S., and many of the companies have extensive operations there, including manufacturing and research and development facilities. Staying in the government's favor is an important part of maintaining their businesses.

The controversy over Green Dam was a challenge for PC vendors, however. While complying with the regulation could curry favor with the government, it could also anger users who complained that the software was poorly developed, and that the government was overstepping its boundaries and violating consumers' rights to choose. Meanwhile, researchers in and out of China said the software contained security problems that would leave users vulnerable to cyber attacks.


Источник: Total Telecom

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