updated 01:55 pm EDT, Fri August 14, 2009
China holds on web filters
The Chinese government has relented in its plans to impose web filtering software on computers, a statement from the country's industry and technology minister suggests. Li Yizhong claims that the Communist Party will "absolutely not" force installation of Green Dam-Youth Escort on every computer sold in the country, despite the fears of both corporations and political dissenters. Nominally meant to block pornography, critics have claimed that the software could easily be used to extend censorship beyond current network filtering techniques.
Corporate protests have mostly involved the cost and complexity of installing the program on every computer sold in China. Li insists that Green Dam was never meant to be mandatory, but a day before a July 1st deadline requiring bundling of the app, a government spokesman noted that "postponing of pre-installation" was allowed based on the limited preparation time computer makers have had. Some companies, namely ASUS, Acer and Lenovo, have begun bundling Green Dam regardless.
Li now says that Green Dam will only be actively installed in public facilities, such as schools and Internet cafes. The government is meanwhile working on an updated version of the software, with unspecified improvements. There is no timeframe available for the update's release.