China says the software won't filter political content, only porn

The internet is rife with content that many users find objectionable. There are a number of software products that can be installed on computers to prevent unauthorized access to content that parent or corporations deem objectionable.

In China, the government is now set to force computer makers to bundle software with all computers sold in the country that filters content from the internet. The requirement is raising concerns over cyber-security and freedom.

The Chinese government wants the Green Dam-Youth Escort software, developed in China by Jinhui Computer System Engineering Co, to be installed on all PCs sold in the country to  filter so-called "unhealthy words and images" reports Reuters.

The issue for foreign computer companies selling products in China is that to continue selling in one of the fastest growing market in the world, the companies have to bundle software that could cause the machines to be more vulnerable to security breached and malfunctions.

According to the Chinese government the software must be installed, "in order to consolidate the achievements of the online campaign against pornography, combine punishment and prevention, protect the healthy growth of young people, and promote the internet's healthy and orderly development."

Reuters reports that while most aspects of the security software are unknown, some manufactures worry the software could be a channel for industrial espionage. According to Chinese leaders, the software can’t be used to filter things like political content because it looks for pornographic images.

The software would be able to be defeated by the computer end-user says the Chinese government, and the use of the software by the end-user wouldn't be required.

The Chinese computer industry is expected to grow by about 3% in 2009 to over 42 million PCs shipped. Companies like ASUS are looking to China to increase their global PC sales.

"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else." -- Microsoft Business Group President Jeff Raikes
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