“The great firewall of China could soon become even greater. The Chinese government has announced that all personal computers will be required to contain software that filters the internet. This software must be pre-installed on all computers sold in mainland China by July 1st. The program called Green Dam Youth Escort can block violent and explicit content like pornography according to a company that helped design it.” (CNN)

The announcement of China’s new filtering software has raised questions about whether the intent is to protect the government from criticisms or shield citizens from vulgarity.

Stan Schroeder of Mashable.com sees this mandate as a further extension of China’s efforts to repress sensitive political content, recently making headlines with its Great Firewall during the Tiananmen Anniversary.

“…if Chinese censors had control of what happens on user computers locally, as well as being able to block certain online destinations, it would make it much harder for users to circumvent such measures.”

CircleID provides a translation of this promotional image from the software company’s website.

“The picture shows children sitting at their computers, being shielded by a screen labeled "Green Dam Youth Escort green web surfing filtering software," held up by arms labeled "government" and "finance." The nasty looking black globs say "harmful website" and "harmful information."
 
The Xinhua News Agency has the perspective that the software is being marketed in China as a tool to protect children from pornography and bad language, but a representative for the software creators confirmed suspicions of wider censorship to The Telegraph.

"It will automatically filter pornographic images and antirevolutionary content. It will not take up much space on the hard drive. It is very stable and we have conducted many tests already."

The Wall Street Journal reports that the software determines objectionable content on a site-by-site basis and through a central black list. But one Chinese blogger on Global Voices Online points out the blocking criteria for sites hasn’t’ been released and neither has the black list.

“People would of course doubt if [the] Beijing's definition of pornography would include politics. It is likely that Beijing regards political pornography more damaging than bodily pornography.”

Chinese media blogger Image Thief provides the perspective that Chinese entrepreneurs will skirt the new software.

“…Any DIY vendor at the highly competitive IT malls will sell you a nicely scrubbed box at your convenience. They're already willing to sell you pirate software and technically illegal mobile phones, so it's hard to imagine they'll let a little thing like Green Dam Youth Escort stand between them and a sale.”

Is China’s government effectively increasing Internet censorship with Green Dam Youth Escort, or is it just creating a new form of creative resistance for China’s tech-savvy youth?

China's New Wall

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Jun 11, 2009

China's New Wall

“The great firewall of China could soon become even greater. The Chinese government has announced that all personal computers will be required to contain software that filters the internet. This software must be pre-installed on all computers sold in mainland China by July 1st. The program called Green Dam Youth Escort can block violent and explicit content like pornography according to a company that helped design it.” (CNN)

The announcement of China’s new filtering software has raised questions about whether the intent is to protect the government from criticisms or shield citizens from vulgarity.

Stan Schroeder of Mashable.com sees this mandate as a further extension of China’s efforts to repress sensitive political content, recently making headlines with its Great Firewall during the Tiananmen Anniversary.

“…if Chinese censors had control of what happens on user computers locally, as well as being able to block certain online destinations, it would make it much harder for users to circumvent such measures.”

CircleID provides a translation of this promotional image from the software company’s website.

“The picture shows children sitting at their computers, being shielded by a screen labeled "Green Dam Youth Escort green web surfing filtering software," held up by arms labeled "government" and "finance." The nasty looking black globs say "harmful website" and "harmful information."
 
The Xinhua News Agency has the perspective that the software is being marketed in China as a tool to protect children from pornography and bad language, but a representative for the software creators confirmed suspicions of wider censorship to The Telegraph.

"It will automatically filter pornographic images and antirevolutionary content. It will not take up much space on the hard drive. It is very stable and we have conducted many tests already."

The Wall Street Journal reports that the software determines objectionable content on a site-by-site basis and through a central black list. But one Chinese blogger on Global Voices Online points out the blocking criteria for sites hasn’t’ been released and neither has the black list.

“People would of course doubt if [the] Beijing's definition of pornography would include politics. It is likely that Beijing regards political pornography more damaging than bodily pornography.”

Chinese media blogger Image Thief provides the perspective that Chinese entrepreneurs will skirt the new software.

“…Any DIY vendor at the highly competitive IT malls will sell you a nicely scrubbed box at your convenience. They're already willing to sell you pirate software and technically illegal mobile phones, so it's hard to imagine they'll let a little thing like Green Dam Youth Escort stand between them and a sale.”

Is China’s government effectively increasing Internet censorship with Green Dam Youth Escort, or is it just creating a new form of creative resistance for China’s tech-savvy youth?

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