The Chinese government may be waving a white flag in response to all the criticism of its Green Dam filtering software.
Beijing won't force the widespread installation of the Internet filtering program on PCs and other consumer products, China's industry minister, Li Yizhong, said Thursday, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.
The Green Dam interface. (Credit: University of Michigan)
In June, China said it would require that the Green Dam software be installed on all computers sold in the country by both domestic and foreign manufacturers. Since later that month, China has been delaying a permanent decision on whether to demand the software be preinstalled on all PCs.
According to the Wall Street Journal story, Li said that the intention was for the software to be installed voluntarily by individuals or their parents. He stressed that the program is intended to protect children from pornography and other harmful content and that attempts to politicize the issue or "attack China's Internet management system" are fanciful and irresponsible, the Journal reported.
China will still move forward with installing Green Dam in schools and Internet cafes across the country.
Since China announced the requirement of Green Dam, the software had been criticized on several fronts, putting pressure on the Chinese government to re-examine its decision.
In addition to protecting children from pornography, the filter was seen as a further attempt at censoring content objectionable to the Chinese government, also creating potential trade barriers and other headaches for PC manufacturers.
Experts also said the program is poorly developed and unsafe and would leave PCs vulnerable to hackers. One exploit popped up in late June that would allow attacks on computers outfitted with Green Dam.