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Computers in China to Have Pre-Installed Internet Filtering Software

On May 19, 2009, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) issued a notice regarding the pre-installation of Internet filtering software. The notice said that, in order to control the low and vulgar contents on the Internet and to protect minors from exposure to the harmful "bad information," all computers manufactured or sold in China after July 1 should have "Green Dam-Youth Escort" software pre-installed. The software provides functions to block sexual content, filter websites deemed improper, control Internet browsing time, and record the web site visiting history.

According to Computer Science and Engineering Division of The University of Michigan’s research, "Green Dam scans text entry fields in various applications for blocked words, including obscenities and politically sensitive phrases (for example, references to Falun Gong). Blacklisted terms are contained in three files…" The researchers "also found what appears to be a word list for a more sophisticated sentence processing algorithm in the unencrypted file FalunWord.lib," which is dominated by Falun Gong related terms and sentences.

Many newspaper and Netizens expressed their angst with MIIT’s forceful imposition of more Internet control. China News Services’ survey on June 11 showed that only 20% of the people supported MIIT’s position. MIIT declared that "(the Green Dam-Youth Escort) software will not monitor user’s Internet behavior, nor was it to collect any user information."

[1], June 9, 2009
[2] Nanfang Daily, June 9, 2009
[3] China News, June 11, 2009
[4] The Computer Science and Engineering Division of the University of Michigan
"Ananlysis of the Green Dam Censorware System"