The US government is exerting pressure on Chinese authorities to drop a new mandate for all computers to have Internet filtering software, amid concerns that the move could result into censorship.
In a move to push China to take the decision back, US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke as well as Trade Representative Ron Kirk said China may be infringing World Trade Organisation (WTO) provisions by necessitating that all computer systems sold in the country from 1 July to have “Green Dam” program.
Citing the same, Locke said in a statement, “China is putting companies in an untenable position by requiring them, with virtually no public notice, to pre-install software that appears to have broad-based censorship implications and network security issues”.
Locke and Kirk asserted that they had sent joint letters to the concerned Chinese authorities, urging them to revoke its move to compel the bundling of all PCs with the contentious Green Dam filtering software.
However, Beijing backed the filtering software by saying that it would help sorting out pornographic content, thereby safeguarding young people within the largest online population of the world. But, privacy and trade groups have considered the initiative as yet another move by the Chinese government to monitor access to the internet.
China will argue that the Americans are trying to impose their own views on the proud Communist state which is likely to answer with a rather stern press release. The Green Dam programme is apparently voluntary from what we could infer at the beginning of the month. More than 40 million laptops and computers are sold annually in China.
(The Washington Post)