Although PC makers may not be overly happy with the Chinese government's demand to install filtering and censorship software on each PC and notebook sold in the country, manufacturers are reluctantly agreeing.
Sony has become the first major manufacturer to install the necessary Green Dam Youth Escort Internet filtering software, with the company now shipping PCs that has the software pre-installed. The government-issued requirement will officially go into effect on Wednesday, July 1, and it's unknown which companies will
Acer and other PC manufacturers are expected to follow suit, and will comply with Chinese law requiring the pre-installed web-filtering software. Although it's possible for Dell, Hewlett-Packard and several others to wait for some type of diplomatic intervention, but China has been reluctant to embrace other governments and regulatory bodies trying to interfere within its borders.
China said the software would be used only to block online pornography and other crude content, however, the government is well known for censoring political material.
However, many retailers in China either are unaware of Green Dam, or don't care if PCs have the software pre-installed. It's possible that any custom built PCs not sold brand new in stores will be sold in street markets without the mandatory software, so it will be interesting to see if the Chinese government tries to crack down on this behavior.
Despite boasting a possible consumer base of more than 300 million active Internet users, the Chinese market isn't as mature as rival Asian nations of Japan and South Korea. However, as the number of internet users continues to rise in China, manufacturers can see dollar signs, even if they have to deal with higher restrictions imposed by the Chinese government.
The Chinese government is very restrictive about the material Internet users inside its borders may look at, though this filtering software takes it a step further than the great red firewall. In addition, there also has been concern over possible security risks and the likelihood the Green Dam software relies on pirated code to operate.