China's government plans to require all PCs sold in that country as of July 1 to be shipped with software that blocks certain Web sites, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.
The move, which is expected to give government censors heightened control over how China's citizens use the Internet, is intended to protect young people from "harmful" content such as pornography, according to the software's main developer.
The software, called "Green Dam-Youth Escort," would block access to banned Web sites by connecting to a regularly updated database of banned sites and block access to those addresses, according to the report. The requirement is aimed at "constructing a green, healthy, and harmonious Internet environment, and preventing harmful information on the Internet from influencing and poisoning young people," according to a May 19 Chinese government notice the newspaper cited.
The Chinese government has a reputation for restricting its citizens' access to the Internet.
Last week, on the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, China reportedly blocked access to Web sites like Twitter, Yahoo's Flickr, YouTube, Microsoft Hotmail, Live.com, Wordpress, Blogger, and many other social-networking sites.
Internet censorship in China took center stage last year during the Beijing Olympic Games when it was revealed that the International Olympic Committee had cut a deal to let the Chinese government block international journalist' access to sensitive Web sites, despite promises of unrestricted access.