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China won't force mass use of Green Dam software
|14 августа 2009|
China's industry and technology minister Li Yizhong said that China will "absolutely not" force the mass installation of the Green Dam Internet filtering software on personal computers, in Beijing's clearest climb-down to date on the software, which has aroused concerns over Internet users' freedom in China.
China will continue to install the software, called Green Dam-Youth Escort, on computers at schools, in Internet cafes, and other public places, Li said.
After meeting fierce resistance from foreign computer makers and Chinese Internet users, China's plan to require the software to be shipped with all computers sold in China was delayed indefinitely in June.
Li said Thursday the software was always intended to be optional and not a mandatory installation, and said the regulations were unclear when first released by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology in May.
The regulation "wasn't fully considered, and not expressed clearly, and gave everyone the impression that this is mandatory," Li said Thursday.
MIIT notified domestic and foreign computer makers in late May that they would be required to ship the filtering software with all computers sold in China by July 1.
But on June 30, just before the deadline, an MIIT spokesman told the state-controlled Xinhua news agency that PC makers hadn't had sufficient time to prepare for the edict.
"Based on this factual situation, postponing of pre-installation is allowed," the spokesman said at the time.
Li said Thursday that the ministry's intention was always for the software to be installed on a voluntary basis by individuals or their parents.
"The head of the family has the right to chose," Li said, adding that China "fully respects everyone's freedom to choose."
Still it wasn't clear from Li's comments if China may eventually require computer makers to ship the software along with PCs on a separate disk that could be installed or not.
Some Asian computer markets are following the approach of providing the software to consumers but not forcing them to use it. Taiwan-based Asustek Computer Inc. and Acer Inc. have both been including Green Dam disks with their products sold in China since July 1. China-based Lenovo Group Ltd. has been including the software on PCs, but giving customers the option to activate it.
The U.S. embassy in Beijing and the American Chamber of Commerce in China welcomed Li's remarks Thursday.
"The U.S. government welcomes comments by Minister Li today clarifying that the Chinese government will not mandatorily install Green Dam software on all computers in the market," said Richard Buangan, deputy press spokesman for the U.S. embassy in Beijing."This decision will allow consumers to make decisions themselves with regard to the installation of software for personal use."
The American Chamber of Commerce in China said that it continues to monitor the situation, but described Li's comments as "a positive step."
"AmCham-China believes that China's revised Green Dam Escort policy as it applies to consumers is consistent with international best practices," the chamber said in a statement.
Li stressed that the software is intended to protect minors from pornographic and other harmful content.
"Some people are expanding and politicizing this issue, even to the point of attacking our Internet management system. I feel this is not in line with the facts, and not responsible," Li said.
On the sidelines of the press conference, Li added that the software is being improved, and said a new, better version of the software could be introduced. He didn't provide further details or a timeframe.
Источник: Total Telecom