Tuesday, June 9, 2009

On the Defensive

Today the government came out to defend its "Green Dam-Youth Escort" software -- which it claims will protect young minds from being poisoned in cyberspace.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang reiterated the software would filter out pornographic and violent content on the Internet.

Critics have complained Chinese Internet users will not be able to get access to politically sensitive information.

But Qin defended the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology's July 1 directive, saying: "The purpose of this is to effectively manage harmful material for the public and prevent it from being spread," he said.

"The Chinese government pushes forward the healthy development of the Internet. But it lawfully manages the Internet," he added.

There are rumours the government has an army of thousands of Internet police who are constantly monitoring the net, blocking pornography sites or those that have information regarding the Tiananmen Square Massacre, Tibet, and Falun Gong, among others. They also input the latest buzz words that may turn up in online searches to prevent online users from getting information they want.

However, the number of proxy servers and websites are constantly growing, making even the task of blocking even harder for these faceless Internet police.

So... perhaps someone suggested pre-empting the need to block them by forcing all new computers in China to have pre-installed software that automatically blocks what the government deems as sensitive.

All the new computers are supposed to have the software already pre-installed and include a CD of it in case the computer crashes or it doesn't work properly.

But some of my friends here are angered by the move, saying "it's stupid" and that people are not going to take this sitting down. One even predicted people are going to be so outraged when they find out that the exercise will fail, and that someone will have to resign for it.

What would young nationalists known as fenqing think about this? On the one hand they want to support the government, but this latest requirement severely curtails their freedoms on the Internet.

It's surprising that there hasn't been much ranting on the Internet about this on Chinese online forums...

Or maybe those have been blocked too?

1 comment:

gung said...

good move clean up the garbage in the cyber space.