China Blocks Google Access; Confusion Over Internet Filter Remains High
June 25, 2009 5:25 PM
Companies still frustrated with Chinese order to install filtering software
As China continues to cause Internet privacy advocates to shake their heads in disbelief, access to Google has been blocked in some parts of the country.
Google has been accused of spreading pornography -- breaking strict Chinese law -- and now both the Google.com and its Chinese language counterpart have been unavailable. Furthermore, Gmail and several other Google-based services also were disabled since Wednesday afternoon China time.
To avoid the ban in China, Microsoft's Bing search engine is reportedly filtering out some sensitive searches carried out through the search portal written in traditional Chinese. Any IP address based in China filters out content deemed inappropriate by the Chinese government, allowing the search engine to continue operating in the country.
Foreign companies operating inside China must tread carefully, with YouTube,
, and a handful of news web sites also facing temporary bans.
The temporary Google block comes at the same time PC manufacturers are working to install the mandatory "Green Dam Youth Escort" software on all desktop PCs and laptops sold in the country. The filter has drawn international criticism, with US officials pleading with China to leave behind its plans to use the filter.
There has been concern not only because of major censorship issues, but possible security holes and
pirated software used in the filtering software
. But since the Chinese market has so many tech consumers, manufacturers are willing to install the filter and put up with other unusual demands.
"Mandating technically flawed Green Dam software and denying manufacturers and consumers freedom to select filtering software is an
unnecessary and unjustified means to achieve that objective
, and poses a serious barrier to trade," according to US Trade Representative Ron Kirk.
"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov
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