Some Asian computer makers have begun to include China’s Green Dam web-filtering software in products shipped to Chinese customers, even after Chinese government officials last month indefinitely delayed efforts to make the software mandatory in the face of industry and international opposition.
What no one is saying out loud isthat this software is NOT installed in the computer’s operating system. NOT. It is either a CD-Rom disk or a program on the hard disk that can be activated and deactivated by the user.
The PR releases from the American computer makers, which have flooded in, never, ever once mention this important point. They say, always, that the censorship program is being forced on the user.
Acer, the world’s third-largest PC vendor by shipments, said it started shipping computers bundled with CD-ROMs that contained Green Dam this month. Acer said it was complying with requests from government officials that it make the software available, even if they weren’t making it a requirement. That is a far, far different story to the PR releases and government flack that is coming out of the United States and is being believed by journalists who should know a lot better. Anyone who believes that a PR release is connected to the truth is a chump of the worst kind.
Asustek Computer is doing the same as is Lenovo. Lenovo states very, very clearly is it giving customers the option to activate the software. A spokesperson for Lenovo said, "It is entirely up to the customer to install Green Dam or not as they choose. We are complying with the law and continue to monitor the situation as it evolves."
China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology notified PC makers in late May that they would be required to ship filtering software called Green Dam-Youth Escort with all computers sold in China. The notice said the software’s purpose was to keep children from viewing harmful content on the internet.
Foreign industry associations and US officials criticized it saying the regulation appeared to be a move by the government to further regulate internet use in China. Not once did they say it was voluntary. Not once did they say it could be removed. And journalists fell for it hook, line and sinker. When people ask me what I do for a living I no longer say "journalist". I would not wish to be associated with the people who fell for the Green Dam scan which was initiated by American computer companies.
Wall Street Journal, which should know better, writes that while complying with the regulation could curry favor with the government, it could also anger users who complained that the government was violating consumers’ rights. In the same way that Microsoft is violating consumers’ rights in asking them to install software which will check all of the programs on the computers.