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6/23/2009
05:57 PM
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Green Dam Deadline Remains Unchanged Despite U.S. Objections

Chinese authorities claim that putting Green Dam censorware on all new PCs sold in the country is necessary to limit young people's exposure to "harmful information."

The Chinese government appears to have reaffirmed its requirement that all PCs sold in the country from July onward include Web-filtering software known as Green Dam.

An unidentified official from China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) said that the government has not changed its position on Green Dam, according to a report in the English-language China Daily.

This directly contradicts separate reports last week from China Daily and The Associated Press, both of which cited an unnamed MIIT official who said the Green Dam software would not be compulsory.

Dean Garfield, president of the Information Technology Industry Council, a trade group that represents PC makers like Dell and Hewlett-Packard, said he couldn't offer any clarification about the specifics of the mandate, such as whether Green Dam must be installed on computers or whether the presence of a separate installation disc in the PC's packing box is sufficient.

"The situation is still dynamic," he said. "We're working with the U.S. government to reach a reasonable resolution and we continue to urge the Chinese government to reconsider."

On Monday, a U.S. State Department spokesman said that U.S. government officials had met with Chinese government representatives to object to the Green Dam mandate.

"We are concerned about Green Dam in terms of its potential impact on trade, the free flow of information, and the serious technical issues raised by the software," he said during a press briefing. "We believe there are other commercially available software programs which provide users with a wide range of choices for shielding minors from illicit or inappropriate internet contact -- content, which is the ostensible rationale for this. We’ve also asked the Chinese to engage in a dialogue on how to address these concerns."

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