Sunday, 16 August 2009

Green Dam Up-Date

The back-down by the Chinese government over the installation of Green Dam Youth Escort has gone a step further. On the 13th August Industry and Information Technology minister Li Yizhong confirmed that installation of it on privately owned machines would now be voluntary and not compulsory also suggesting that the view that it would be compulsory was based on poorly drafted regulations.

The backdown by the Chinese government is however only partial since, although the software won't be forcibly installed on privately owned machines it will still be mandatory for all machines in public places such as schools, libraries and even internet cafes. Since the majority of internet connections in China are made in such public places the government is hence still firmly committed to censorship. The ostensible purpose of Green Dam Youth Escort is blocking of pornography but it bears repeating that this includes all references to gay sites including ones that are entirely political and may include little by way of visual content. China is also officially ranked 167 out of 173 countries surveyed in terms of internet freedom by Reporters Without Borders.

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