Tuesday, June 9, 2009

China wants us to protect us from ourselves

China is now requiring that all PCs sold as of July 1st must come shipped with filtering software that can block access to certain websites. I haven't come across any details on how the software works, but it's safe to say this is the most boneheaded and backwards move China has ever taken regarding Internet development. People will be annoyed at having government controlling their PC ever so literally, but more importantly hackers will break it, computer vendors will get tons of negative feedback for complying and lose a lot of customers if they don't.

The silver lining to this dark cloud of misery is

The head of a software developer involved in devising the program confirmed the report to AFP, saying it was aimed at protecting people from pornography.

"The software will be provided to consumers in new PCs and they have the option to install or not to install it," said Bryan Zhang, chief executive of Jinhui Computer System Engineering Co.

Actually it does make me wonder why this is even necessary? Doesn't the Great Firewall of China work well enough? Or is China worried that it can't handle the rising growth in Internet connectivity? It could be a sign of things actually changing for the better, in a weird way--giving customers the option to control their own level of censorship. Maybe China plans on passing the censorship buck in a few years, putting the GFW out of its miserable existence. One can hope...


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