China wants PCs to come with anti-porn software

June 8, 2009 By GILLIAN WONG , Associated Press Writer
FILE - In this Feb. 1, 2009 file photo, a man uses a computer at an Internet cafe in Fuyang, central China's Anhui province. China wants all personal computers sold domestically to come with software that blocks access to online pornography, which it has banned, the main developer of the software said Monday, June 8, 2009. (AP Photo, File)

(AP) -- China wants all personal computers sold domestically to come with software that blocks online pornography, one of the developers said Monday, potentially giving the government another avenue to control Internet use.

The software, called "Green Dam-Youth Escort," targets online porn by preventing computers from accessing sites with pornographic pictures or language, Zhang Chenmin, general manager of Jinhui Computer System Engineering Co., told The Associated Press. Jinhui, based in Zhengzhou, capital of Henan in central China, was compiling a database of the blocked sites.

"According to our surveys, many teenage students have become familiar with Internet pornography and they commonly share the addresses of pornographic Web sites with one another," Zhang said.

The software could also be used to block other kinds of Web sites, depending on keywords, Zhang said. The Chinese government routinely blocks political sites, especially ones it considers socially destabilizing such as sites that challenge the ruling Communist Party, promote democratic reform or advocate independence for Tibet.

Parents can develop their own lists of sites to be added to the database of blacklisted sites, Zhang said.

"If a father doesn't want his son to be exposed to content related to basketball or drugs, he can block all Web sites related to those things," Zhang said, adding that conversely, users also could unblock Web sites that appear in the database.

Zhang said his company signed a 21 million yuan ($3 million) contract with the Chinese government last May to develop the software and distribute it to personal computer-makers free of charge within one year, to be included with units meant for domestic sale. The software was jointly developed by Beijing Dazheng Language Technology Co. Ltd., which declined to comment.

Consumers can uninstall the software if they do not want it, Zhang said.

China, which has the world's largest population of Internet users at more than 250 million, this year launched a nationwide crackdown on Internet pornography, which is banned in China. More than 1,900 Web sites have been shut down since the beginning of the campaign and Web sites including Google and Baidu, China's most popular search engine, were criticized for linking to suspect sites.

According to the Wall Street Journal on Monday, China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology issued a notice on May 19 to personal computer-makers that PCs to be sold in China as of July 1 must be preloaded with the software.

The program would either be installed on the hard drive or enclosed on a compact disc, the paper reported, adding that PC makers would be required to tell authorities how many PCs they have shipped with the software.

The ministry did not immediately respond to questions from The Associated Press by phone or fax. A separate notice on its said all primary and secondary schools were required to install the Green Dam on every school computer by the end of last month.

Educators "should fully realize the damage that harmful online information does to the physical and mental health of primary and secondary school students," the notice said.

PC makers Lenovo Group, Hewlett-Packard Co. and Dell Inc. did not immediately respond to requests for comments, either by phone or e-mail.

---

Associated Press researcher Zhao Liang contributed to this report.

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explore further: Is it RIP for VoIP in China?

Related Stories

Is it RIP for VoIP in China?

September 12, 2005

Voice over Internet Protocol VoIP development is posing a threat to state-protected telecom carriers, calling into question China's willingness to let technology advances into the marketplace.

Internet use in China tops 110 million

January 18, 2006

There were more than 111 million Internet users in China by the end of 2005 according to data released Tuesday by the agency monitoring the industry's development.

China cracks down on blogs, search engines

June 30, 2006

(AP) -- China's Internet regulators are stepping up controls on blogs and search engines to block material it considers unlawful or immoral, the government said Friday.

Amnesty: Web Companies Violating Rights

July 20, 2006

(AP) -- Amnesty International accused Yahoo, Microsoft and Google on Thursday of violating human rights principles by cooperating with China's efforts to censor the Web and called on them to lobby for the release of jailed ...

China Internet users fake identity numbers

December 26, 2006

Chinese officials say Internet users in the country are using false identity card numbers to mask their identities while accessing Web sites and games.

Australia says Web blacklist combats child porn

March 27, 2009

(AP) -- Australia's communications minister has defended a proposed Internet blacklist as necessary to combat child pornography but admitted that at least one site had been wrongly blocked during trials.

Recommended for you

Sydney makes its mark with electronic paper traffic signs

July 28, 2015

Visionect, which is in the business of helping companies build electronic paper display products, announced that Sydney has launched e-paper traffic signs. The traffic signage integrates displays from US manufacturer E Ink ...

4 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

bmcghie
5 / 5 (2) Jun 08, 2009
The degree of power that the Chinese government has terrifies me. I'm very thankful I live in Canada, and have the rights that entails.

Although... anyone else hear about that guy in the USA going to court for having a collection of manga? Some of which depicted underage sex acts? Possibly 5 years in jail thanks to hand-drawn images. There's something wrong with that.
DMorse
not rated yet Jun 08, 2009
Im in the usa and i haven't heard of that case. But i have heard of a case recently of a guy who was caught with real child pornography, a serious and disgusting offense that deserves punishment.
Hockey68
5 / 5 (1) Jun 08, 2009
Educators "should fully realize the damage that harmful online information does to the physical and mental health of primary and secondary school students," the notice said.


Ah the lies of a powerful government.
designmemetic
not rated yet Jun 09, 2009
can they make it block spam too?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.