China web users will be hit by another virtual wall from the 1st of July if plans, by the Chinese government, to install web filtering software on all computers sold in the country go ahead.
The Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology will be asking all PC manufacturers, both local and foreign, to install a web blocking application called "Green Dam Youth Escort" on all computers sold as from next month.
In an official document, the governmental organ said that the move was motivated by the will to "consolidate the achievements of the online campaign against pornography, combine punishment and prevention, protect the healthy growth of young people, and promote the Internet's healthy and orderly development".
The software was developed by a local firm called Jinhui Computer System Engineering and Reuters, which reported the news first, did not specify whether GDYE will be compatible with Linux or Mac.
The move is apparently aimed at protecting the Chinese youth from "unhealthy information" and appears to be targeting pornographic images more specifically. Jinhui's founder was quick to dismiss fears that the filter will be excluding politically motivated content and said that using the software is not compulsory.
It also appears that the software will be another layer on top of China's existing content filtering systems. More than 42 million computers and laptops are sold each year in China but this is dwarfed by the number of smartphones projected to be sold.
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Although the software appear to be optional (rather than compulsory), it is likely that the Chinese government coerce computer users into installing the application on their computers. And some might posit that it is very likely that there is some kind of backdoor.
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